Boston, Mass. -- Too many cooks might sometimes spoil the broth, but Penn State researchers asked a large number of stakeholders for input to a regional climate assessment and found the suggestions invaluable in determining what was important in global climate discussions.
"We have approached stakeholders in two ways," says Dr. Patti Anderson, research associate in Penn State's Environmental Resources Research Institute and team member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Assessment of Climate Change Impacts.
"One way was to ask specific constituents to fill out surveys on perceived risk from potential global change."
The team also put together an advisory board of about 95 people representing industry, the environmental movement, the nonprofit sector, government and research organizations. The committee met initially in a planning phase and has met since to make suggestions on the topics they deem important, on the draft assessment, and on ways to distribute information about its results.
"One effect the MARA advisory committee had on how we proceeded with the research was the emphasis on human health," Anderson told attendees today (June 4) at the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Society in Boston. "We initially thought it would be only a minor component."
MARA is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The project's goal is to assess the effects of climate change on different sectors in the region. Beside Anderson, the co-authors of the paper are Ann Fisher, senior scientist and professor, agricultural economics and principal investigator; Robert O'Connor, associate professor of political science; Richard Bord, associate professor of sociology; James Shortle, professor of agricultural economics and rural sociology; David DeWalle, professor of forest hydrology; and Brent Yarnal, professor of geography.