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Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling



Representing Components of the Causal Chain for Integrated Assessment

Though end-to-end integration is not an essential condition for integrated assessment of climate change, the causal chain defined by end-to-end integration provides a useful organizing scheme for examining key issues in integrated assessment and for organizing projects according to the relative emphasis they give each component of the causal chain. Any integrated assessment will consider some set of the following phenomena: the human activities that give rise to emissions; emissions of some greenhouse gases and related substances; processes of element cycling and atmospheric chemistry that determine atmospheric concentrations of relevant trace gases; climatic processes; and impacts on people and resources they value.

Figure 1 provides a compact schematic representation of these major components, with representative lists of the phenomena that might be represented in each component, and lines denoting the major (but not all) interactions among components. Policies are represented separately from the principal causal chain, as different forms of policy can affect emission-generating activities (abatement policies), impacts (policies to promote adaptation), or climate (geoengineering). This section discusses major issues in the representation of each of these major components. In addition, three issues that affect many components are discussed below: treatment of uncertainty, discounting, and problems of spatial, temporal, and sectoral resolution.


The next section is Future Emissions Paths.





Parson, E.A. and K. Fisher-Vanden, Searching for Integrated Assessment: A Preliminary Investigation of Methods, Models, and Projects in the Integrated Assessment of Global Climatic Change. Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). University Center, Mich. 1995.


Suggested Citation

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). 1995. Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling of Climate Change [online]. Palisades, NY: CIESIN. Available at [accessed DATE].



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