MONITOR UNU Monitor is a quarterly review of the United Nations University’s current research, publications and forthcoming projects in the area of global change. It is compiled by the UNU Tokyo in collaboration with the HDGCP Secretariat in Toronto. Several activities over recent months have highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the UNU-sponsored programme, ‘Human Dimensions of Global Change’ (HDGCP). A workshop in Montebello, Canada, focused on the ‘Developing Country Perspective of Global Warming’. In Borca di Cadore, Italy, the first international conference took place on the issue of ‘Ethics and Environmental Policies’ under the umbrella of the HDGCP. The Peace Palace in The Hague was the venue for a workshop on ‘International Law and Global Change’. In Mexico City, ‘Methodological Issues in Global Modelling’ were discussed. This issue’s Monitor looks at the results of these various meetings. Developing country perspective on global warming The Workshop on Developing Country Perspectives on National and International Policy Aspects of Global Warming was held in Montebello, Canada, from 29 July to 1 August 1990. It was sponsored by the UNU, the International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study (IFIAS), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Institute for Sustainable De- velopment, and the Woods Hole Research Center. As a small, interdisciplinary meeting of about 20 scientific and international diplomatic and legal affairs experts who had been involved in articulating the response of the develop- ing countries to the global warming issue, the workshop was a follow-up to the UNIJIFIAYISSC meeting on ‘A Little Breathing Space’, an International Workshop on Carbon Dioxide Emission Reduction Strategies, held in Budapest in 1989. The underlying objective of the work- shop was to make a contribution to the preparations underway for the Second World Climate Conference and the negotiations for a Climate Change Convention. The workshop focused on one particular, but very important, aspect of the larger issue: the needs and requirements for changing energy policies in developing countries, and the international cooperation that will be essential to facilitate such change. The initial output of the meeting is a short document emphasizing policy and the next practical steps. This document will be presented to the Energy Committee of the Second World Climate Conference. The document begins with an enumeration of the unique aspects of this global problem and the complexity of the decision-making issues involved, particularly from the viewpoint of the developing nations. It then considers alternative models of energy development and the steps that need to be taken to adopt these models. In examining the area of international cooperation, the report points out the need to: 0 ensure full participation of developing countries in the global response to climate change; 0 reconcile the imperative for energy development with environmental requirements; l provide funds for transfer of technology and addi- tional costs to be incurred by developing countries in addressing the challenge posed by global climate change. The initial steps recommended by the workshop are as follows: 0 0 0 0 0 All countries should embark on measures that will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other green- house gases to the atmosphere, but intense actions are expected from the industrialized countries which have contributed most to the existing stock, and which are best placed to undertake the needed actions. Given the importance of electricity to human well- being and improvement in quality of life, existing technological options that have reasonable environ- mental impacts should be made accessible to needy countries. There should be an increase in collaborative re- search and development programmes between in- stitutions of industrialized and developing nations to improve access to information relating to green- house gas emissions, with such information being made available to the wider scientific community and the general public. Capacities within research and development institu- tions for the search for alternatives to technologies that have proved environmentally unacceptable should be strengthened. Funds accrued from recent global changes in the political sphere should be used to assist developing countries in harnessing their indigenous energy re- sources and in embarking on research and develop- ment projects related to these resources. GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991 157
UNU Monitor is a quarterly review of the United Nations University’s current research, publications and forthcoming projects in the area of global change. It is compiled by the UNU Tokyo in collaboration with the HDGCP Secretariat in Toronto. Several activities over recent months have highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the UNU-sponsored programme, ‘Human Dimensions of Global Change’ (HDGCP). A workshop in Montebello, Canada, focused on the ‘Developing Country Perspective of Global Warming’. In Borca di Cadore, Italy, the first international conference took place on the issue of ‘Ethics and Environmental Policies’ under the umbrella of the HDGCP. The Peace Palace in The Hague was the venue for a workshop on ‘International Law and Global Change’. In Mexico City, ‘Methodological Issues in Global Modelling’ were discussed. This issue’s Monitor looks at the results of these various meetings.
Developing country perspective on global warming The Workshop on Developing Country Perspectives on National and International Policy Aspects of Global Warming was held in Montebello, Canada, from 29 July to 1 August 1990. It was sponsored by the UNU, the International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study (IFIAS), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Institute for Sustainable De- velopment, and the Woods Hole Research Center. As a small, interdisciplinary meeting of about 20 scientific and international diplomatic and legal affairs experts who had been involved in articulating the response of the develop- ing countries to the global warming issue, the workshop was a follow-up to the UNIJIFIAYISSC meeting on ‘A Little Breathing Space’, an International Workshop on Carbon Dioxide Emission Reduction Strategies, held in Budapest in 1989. The underlying objective of the work- shop was to make a contribution to the preparations underway for the Second World Climate Conference and the negotiations for a Climate Change Convention. The workshop focused on one particular, but very important, aspect of the larger issue: the needs and requirements for changing energy policies in developing countries, and the international cooperation that will be essential to facilitate such change.
The initial output of the meeting is a short document emphasizing policy and the next practical steps. This document will be presented to the Energy Committee of the Second World Climate Conference. The document begins with an enumeration of the unique aspects of this global problem and the complexity of the decision-making issues involved, particularly from the viewpoint of the developing nations. It then considers alternative models of energy development and the steps that need to be taken to adopt these models. In examining the area of international cooperation, the report points out the need to:
0 ensure full participation of developing countries in the global response to climate change;
0 reconcile the imperative for energy development with environmental requirements;
l provide funds for transfer of technology and addi- tional costs to be incurred by developing countries in addressing the challenge posed by global climate change.
The initial steps recommended by the workshop are as follows:
All countries should embark on measures that will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other green- house gases to the atmosphere, but intense actions are expected from the industrialized countries which have contributed most to the existing stock, and which are best placed to undertake the needed actions. Given the importance of electricity to human well- being and improvement in quality of life, existing technological options that have reasonable environ- mental impacts should be made accessible to needy countries. There should be an increase in collaborative re- search and development programmes between in- stitutions of industrialized and developing nations to improve access to information relating to green- house gas emissions, with such information being made available to the wider scientific community and the general public. Capacities within research and development institu- tions for the search for alternatives to technologies that have proved environmentally unacceptable should be strengthened. Funds accrued from recent global changes in the political sphere should be used to assist developing countries in harnessing their indigenous energy re- sources and in embarking on research and develop- ment projects related to these resources.
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991 157
A subsequent output will be a book-length report that will draw upon the commissioned background papers prepared for the workshop, the proceedings of the workshop itself and other shorter papers which participants were invited to prepare in advance of the meeting. The results of the workshop should prove useful to those involved in the subsequent negotiations for the Global Change Conven- tion, especially the proposed Carbon Dioxide Protocol.
Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Climate and Development, has welcomed the Montebello initiative, and thus the work- shop can be seen as a starting point for further studies in preparation for the 1992 Conference.
A detailed report was issued by the workshop, entitled Clirnute Chunge and Energy Policy in Developing Coun-
tries. This will be published in the next issue of Glohul En~~ironnwntal Change.
Ethics and environmental policies The issue of ethics and environmental policies is rapidly becoming a central concern of environmentalists and policy makers. At the global level, the move towards the establishment of international agreements and covenants, as well as the need to focus on longer-term arrangements, are promoting a reconsideration of underlying value sys- tems that assist or constrain action. At the local. regional, and national levels, the political process is increasingly having to respond to appeals for environmental equity. The assessment and adjudication of moral and ethical claims and counter-claims become more and more appropriate tasks.
To address this trend a two-day international Confer- ence was held from 31 August to I September I990 on the theme of Ethics and Environmental Policies. The meeting took place in Borca di Cadore, Italy, and was a joint undertaking of the HDGCP. the Fondazione Lanza of Italy, IFIAS, the International Social Science Council (ISSC). and UNESCO. It was attended by more than 100 delegates from over 15 countries. Plenary presentations by internationally recognized scholars were followed by in- tenaivc workshops on three broad topics: ‘Theological and philosophical foundations of environmental ethics’: ‘Ethics and environmental policy making’; and ‘Ethics, environment and economic practice’.
In this summary report, we present the Declaration of the Conference. and an edited summary of the delibera- tions of each of the intensive workshops. A selection of major papers delivered at the conference, together with the extended rapporteurs’ reports. and other related mate- rial is in preparation for publication in book form. It is expected that the conference deliberations, and the mate- rial presented here, will assist in the future activities of an Ethics and Environmental Policies Working Group now being formed as part of the Legal. Ethical, and Institution- al Dimensions of Global Change Group operating within the I IDGCP.
The first plenary session of the conference was opened by an address delivered on behalf of Gabriele Scimemi, Deputy Director of the Environment Directorate, OECD, who is also a member of the Fondazione Lanza Scientific Committee. This was followed by three initial lectures. setting out certain major themes and positions to be deliberated upon by the seminar/workshops. These were: (a) Franz Bockle, Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology, University of Bonn, speaking on ‘Environmental ethics: philosophical and theological foundations’; (b) Sebastian0 Maffetone, Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Palermo, speaking on ‘Ethics in environmental policy making’; and (c) Kenneth E. Boulding, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, Institute of Behavioural Science, University of Colorado, speaking on ‘Environmental ethics and the Earth’s economic systems’.
Theological and philosophical
The first seminar/workshop took as its starting point a paper by Antonio Autiero, Professor of Moral Theology, University of Bonn. giving a philosophical-theological perspective on the ecological crisis. The subsequent dis- cussion, led by Philipp Schmitz of the Hochschule St Georgen. Frankfurt, envisaged environmental ethics as operating in the contexts of ordinary human activity, economics, technology, and politics. Much of the discus- sion centred around what was meant by ‘nature’, and the relationship between the ethical transformation of indi- viduals and a reconsideration of nature. It was believed that an ethic that was to accomplish changes in social policy ought to promote ‘the integrity of nature’.
The members of the workshop came to these issues from many different ethical and theological positions - some utilitarian, some naturalistic, some Kantian. This brought into the foreground the question of the application of a less than completely systematic, but rather a pragmatic ethics to environmental problems. Was there a process of moral reasoning about environmental issues that all or most of the participants could agree on‘?
The workshop gradually began working towards the consideration of such a process, rooted in a basic admis- sion of fear and concern about what we were doing to the environment, which would in turn serve as the basis for an acceptance of our responsibility for the outcome, and in turn lead to the discovery or formulation of criteria and imperatives for action.
The workshop reviewed in some detail values and principles that seemed to be emerging both from the ecological rethinking of the major religious traditions and the new green ideas emanating from ‘Deep Ecology’, as well as from other sources. These included considerations of trust in the creation, feminist reflections, ecumenical debates. and various attacks on the notion of anthropo- centrism. There was a substantial review of the ethical implications of sustainable development. a debate linked with the deliberations in the workshop on ‘Ethics, environ- ment and economic practice’.
The workshop concluded with a review of possible
158 GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991
future research (summarized in the Conference Declara- tion), not only expressing a desire for more detailed research on a number of the specialized topics raised by the experts at the conference, but also a desire for the wider dissemination of the findings of philosophical and theological explorations of environmental ethics to more popular audiences through educational materials and other resources.
Ethics and environmental policy making
The second seminar was introduced by Kristin Shrader- Frechette, Professor of Political Philosophy, University of South Florida, speaking on ‘Ethics and environmental policy making: public actions and populist reform’. She suggested an environmental decision-making process based on negotiation among parties involved in disputes. her main concern being the need to balance power and the diverse sources of access to information. This proposal was used as the initial framework for further discussion, led by Sergio Bartolommei of Santa Croce sull’Arno.
One critical issue that was identified was whether or not negotiation should be the central guiding or structural principle in environmental decision-making processes, rather than only one step in such processes. On the one hand, according to some, better scientific knowledge of problems should be pursued through traditional methods, so that negotiating becomes just the last, or a secondary step towards decision making. It was possible that the acceptance of a negotation-based model would move the environmental debate from the domain of science into the realm of politics. a realm some considered to be less impartial. This was particularly problematic in countries where decisions were taken with little regard to previous rigorous research: negotiations could encourage com- promises based on poor information and corruption.
On the other hand, it was claimed that negotiations worked well in places where the political debate was already well established on a sound information and scientific base. In certain developed countries, public participation on the basis of serious negotiation is becom- ing established practice, simply because this is considered to be more equitable. This issue was considered to be one in which the national expertise of certain countries could be of use in promoting the introduction of appropriate environmental impact assessment techniques in other countries. and research in this area should be targeted by a
future working group. Other papers presented in this seminar dealt primarily
with environmental and risk assessment, studied both from the technical and ethical points of view. From the discussions on the papers it emerged that further progress in developing such tools and in implementing environmen- tal policies would require explicating hidden values and biases among participants in the process. The central problem was how this could be carried out within the process itself:It was thought that this issue might provide a common cultural ground on which to proceed to a multi- disciplinary, international re-evaluation of the existing
paradigms underlying the application of environmental policies in practice.
Ethics, environment and economic practice
The third seminar/workshop was introduced by Charles Howe, Director of the Institute of Behavioural Science, University of Colorado, and President of the International Association of Environment and Resource Economists. His lecture reviewed the contributions of economics to the foundations of environmental policy, including issues of economic efficiency, benefit-cost analysis, multiple- objective planning and evaluation, and the contribution of economic analysis to the elucidation of problems that require the design of innovative institutions.
The ensuing discussion, moderated by Udo Simonis of the Wissenschaftszentrum, Berlin, focused on how ethical values could affect environmental policies. To overcome certain ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ situations (or ‘common prob- Iems’), it has been argued that one could rely on common- ly shared beliefs or moral norms. These norms, which were once based on tradition and custom, are now being expressed through public opinion. To be guided by this opinion, however, practitioners need an appropriate framework within which to operate, and through which they can evaluate the claims being made upon them. The problem is, consequently, how to educate practitioners and industrial managers towards a higher level of environ- mental concern, and how to restructure laws and decision- making systems in order to facilitate this shift.
There was substantial discussion on major trends in economic theory, including considerations of economic rationality, economic ethics and the mechanics of green taxes. The issue of the ethics surrounding the application of various discount rates to future environments was debated, and the concept of the ‘fiduciary trust’ for the protection of non-economically valued objects and places was introduced as an alternative model for consideration. The economics of the North-South divide was also refer- red to by a number of speakers. notably those participat- ing from Third World countries. As in other workshops in this conference, the ethical dimension of the term ‘sustain- able development’ came in for scrutiny, both in its implica- tions for equity between the developing and developed world, and its relationship to the theme already discussed.
The organizers and the chairs of the conference proposed the following statement, reflecting the dc~liheratiorzs of the participants over the course of the meeting.
The environmental question is becoming a crucial ethical issue of our times, and involves many critical aspects of our lives, ranging from the well-being of the individual to the destruction of many global ecosystems. This issue requires that we reconsider our current ways of thinking and acting; and it points towards possible major changes in our social. economic, and political structure. In particular,
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991
we must reconsider our scientific and epistemological methods, that in the long term have a profound effect on social and political systems. To address this challenge, the conference took as its mandate the analysis and applica- tion of ethics to environmental policies. It reviewed the current understanding among philosophers, theologians, sociologists, economists, and others, of the ethical implica- tions of our current environmental situation, in order to discover those areas of concern which could be improved by the development of greater understanding through future research.
Among the themes considered to be the most important and promising for future research were:
0 the use of the concepts of health and integrity to evaluate environmental well-being;
0 the interrelationship among ethics, economics, and the environment;
0 developing an ethical focus in environmental educa- tion;
0 analysing the ethical implications and potential con- flicts of the rapid rise of environmental concern among certain social groups, especially among the business community and among the public;
0 the assessment of values embedded in environmen- tal evaluation processes (eg environmental impact assessment, risk assessment);
0 the role of ethics in the economic and environmental concerns of developing countries.
The conference urges experts in these areas to translate their researches into practical ways to influence change, and to address the implications for policy of their research. It is further urged that those charged with spiritual matters consider their particular obligation to use the resources of their faith to protect or recreate those ethical values and teachings which can help encourage greater concern and care for the preservation of the environment.
Finally, it is hoped that new kinds of collaborative research among disciplines will be fostered, and that an international working group or working groups in the area of ‘Ethics and Environmental Policies’ will be established to further the work begun at this conference.
International law and global change The group of international legal scholars participating in the United Nations University project on International Law and Global Change met at the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands, on 12-14 September 1990. The workshop was convened by Edith Brown-Weiss of Georgetown University.
At the workshop the authors of the chapters for the UNU book on International Law and Global Change discussed in detail issues in international law. the outline of a Declaration an Human Rights and the Environment, as well as the preparation of international environmental law teaching materials.
Participants identified themes that were particularly important in developing and applying international law to problems of global environmental change. The first theme is the need to anticipate approaches in international law, which will lead to regimes to prevent environmental harm, particularly where the anticipated damage is severe and
irreversible. A second important factor is the inherent scientific
uncertainty in the definition of the problems which the legal regimes address. Scientific information is never complete and indeed our scientific understanding of the problems should always be advancing, and hence, chang- ing. This means that we must focus on ways to provide flexibility in international agreements to adapt to changes in scientific understanding.
Risk assessment is an important part of managing global environmental change. International legal regimes need to provide innovative ways for parties to engage in risk assessment on broader geographic and temporal scales.
Information is also crucial in our ability to address global environmental change. Information is needed to identify and assess problems, to evaluate the effectiveness of given norms, and to facilitate implementation of legal regimes, among other functions. One theme will thus be the transparency of the information gathered.
Another theme focuses on the increasing importance of the individual in international law related to global en- vironmental change. Individuals have certain duties and rights in international environmental law. Much can be learned from the role of the individual in other areas of international law.
A related theme is public participation. We need to explore the means given to individuals and non- governmental groups to participate in international norm- making and to implement international norms. The role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) deserves par- ticular attention. NGOs provide a link between local governments and international agreements.
Other themes that pervade many of the chapters con- cern the spatial and temporal scales of problems of global environmental change; the issues of equity among genera- tions (‘intergenerational equity’) and among communities in the present generation; the importance of ‘soft’ law in the development of international legal norms and in the management of global environmetal issues; and the effect on third parties of given international legal regimes.
Members of the workshop then proposed that the group draft an outline of a Declaration on Human Rights and the Environment, which would be intended in part as a contribution to the Earth Charter proposed for the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. a draft was produced, which Peter Thacher conveyed to Maurice Strong, the Secretary General of the 1992 Confer- ence. A small drafting group is now producing, in con- sultation with other members of the project, the text of a draft declaration on human rights and the environment, for subsequent circulation. The draft declaration directly flows from the research carried out for the UNU project on International Law and Global Change.
160 GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991
(2) Move uway from the notion of predictive models us
explorutory devices (heuristic or ‘insight’ models). The difficulties for the social sciences in trying to construct predictive models have long been recognized. Therefore, it was particularly interesting to the social scientists in the workshop that similar difficulties in providing predictive models exist in the natural sciences. In metereology, for example, the dream of a long-term. predictive global climate model has been abandoned as philosophically impossible, due, among other things, to the extreme sensitivity of such models to initial conditions and their capacity for chaotic behaviour. In ecology. simulation models of complex processes achieve some predictive usefulness when applied to a specific region in which a great deal of on-the-ground monitoring of the variables is possible. often involving considerable local participation.
Indeed, given the overall complexity of the human dimension of global processes, the lack of reliable data and the varying possible interpretations of parameters, a model can be found, along with volumes of empirical data to back it up, to prove practically any prediction. These observations raise questions, not only about the technical difficulty of predicting specific scenarios or global change, but ethical and value-related questions concerning the role of scientists as advisors and the nature of their constituen- cy. Indeed the purported ‘predictiveness’ of a model may be nothing more than the exclusion of options which the builder did not wish to consider.
But models can be used to gain insight and understand- ing into the functioning resilience and possible responses of a system. They can be used to explore collectively possible futures or to evaluate the effort required to achieve a given objective.
(3) Hirrctrchicul s~stetns models. Basic properties of hierarchical systems were examined by several participants on the grounds that they provide sufficient elements for a conceptual framework for integrating data and models from the human and natural sciences and linking the micro and global scales. Such models recognize that variables operating on different levels interact. The multilevel char- acter must be retained in the models - the levels cannot be ‘conflated’ or collapsed because fundamental relations between levels which give the system its character would be lost. Higher levels specify the conditions for lower-level processes, which in turn aggregate their effects to create processes at a higher level.
Levels in hierarchical systems can be determined empir- ically, rather than theoretically; measurements of interac- tion between components permit subsystem models at different levels of the hierarchy. The models must be based on choice-making structures that explain how global processes are generated.
These concepts were explored by the participants - particularly for the case of land use studies (see below) - and it was felt that they provided important elements for constructing a conceptual framework for the Human Dimension of Global Change Programme. Specific recom- mendations for creating such a framework were made and are outlined below.
Finally, the workshop considered the desirability and feasibility of developing international teaching and train- ing materials on international environmental law. These materials would be designed to help faculty world-wide develop new courses on international environmental law. They could also be used for training in other contexts, such as for people engaged in environmental/international deci- sion making within countries, or in other fora.
Methodologies in global modelling A workshop on Methodological Issues in Global Modell- ing in Micro-Global Links was held in Mexico City on S-8 November 1990. cosponsored by the HDGCP and the ISSC. The general themes discussed fell into two broad areas and one specific area, although during the workshop itself, no such artificial division was followed: (a) themes related directly to models and data; (b) themes related to applications in land use study; and (c) one session was devoted to a specific consideration of global climate change and climate modelling.
Models and data
Several papers discussed general methodological issues related to modelling and/or data, including general defini- tions. Open-ended, flexible definitions were preferred. Global models were taken to be any model relevant to global processes, including models of local level case studies. Models could be thoroughly mathematized and computerized. or simply mental schema - of reasoning about global change. The term ‘global change’ itself refers primarily to environmental change on a planetary scale, but several authors mentioned that the term had begun to take on levels of meaning beyond this concept.
The complexity of the human dimension of global change was recognized by the participants. Relevant phe- nomena operate at different scales or levels, both spatially and temporally. as well as conceptually. Based on these general considerations, the papers and discussions focused on five related issues - these are outlined below.
(I) Focus on the relutions nmong components of c’om-
plex heterogeneous systems. It was noted that in studying the human dimension of global change. a distinction must be made between systemic change induced by human activity (such as industrial pollution causing global warm- ing or ozone-layer destruction) and cumulative change, which involves a repetition throughout the globe of many local-scale changes (eg continual deforestation). One diffi- culty in explaining global change is in defining the empiric- al link between the major macro-level driving forces. such as style of economic development. population, technology or social/political organization. It is necessary to recognize that it is the particular relation among the components of a system, not the characteristics of the individual compo- nents, which determine the system’s behaviour.
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991
(4) Questions about the USC of ttm1rl.s. Given the diffi- culties mentioned in theme (1) above, there should he considerable scrutiny of the use to which global change models are put. One question raised by the participants is whether models should be made for policy makers, con- ceived of as central authorities responsible for action about global change. Alternatively, decision makers can be seen to exist on many levels, representing many sectors of society. Models should provide information for people at these other levels as well.
A related observation is that models are not value-free constructs. They are simply the projection of the assump- tion of the model maker into the future. There are no hard facts independent of the values of the observer: facts are social constructs reflecting the prevailing value- judgements about the nature of reality. It was felt by many participants that the hidden values influencing supposedly objective scientific models of global change constituted an important theme for research. For example. many efforts in the earth sciences to build purely physical models must give consideration to the human dimension, the under- lying causes and consequences of global change.
(5) Rotrotn-up resecmA .sfrutcgie.c. By involving the re- levant local social actors in the research for and the construction of models, greater insights can be achieved into the relations between human and natural systems. The users of models must be part of the models them- selves. just as local social actors often initiate changes which become of global significance. A strategy of begin- ning with a local actor and successively considering this location in wider and wider systems was referred to as ‘progressive contextualization’.
Global models are data hungry: lack of data leads to excessive parameterization and consequent inaccuracy. Parameterization is the direct expression of ignorance as to what is happening on the local level. The only waay to increase significantly data quantity and quality is by decen- tralizing global research, actively involving local research institutions and other local actors in research activities.
Global models should be the result of a truly internn- tional and interdisciplinary effort. with the natural and the social sciences equal partners in research. encouraging the formation of hybrid fields of investigation.
Models and data in land use studies
The subject of land use was chosen to give the workshop a common theme of analysis and example and to help bring the theoretical methodological discussion literally down to earth. This choice turned out to be a fortunate one, since a direct application of a hierarchical systems model was found to be useful in linking case studies of land use change to global level processes. Examples were discussed of land use in tropical rain forests of Amazonia and Southern Mexico. urban Canada and coastal Mexico.
A tml~ile~d vputirtl orgut7izcrriott model was proposed for integrating local land use and social orgnaization and the larger-scale processes, from regional to global, which affect local actors making land use decisions.
Geographical information systems (GIS) were seen as offering a useful tool for implementing a multilevel spatial organization model of land use. GIS link objects in the cartography of a region with a geographically referenced database. Thus, land use changes visible in air photogra- phy and satellite imagery can be linked to socioeconomic and anthropological and other types of information, greatly enhancing the quality of interpretation and understanding of the causes of land use change. These databases need to be ‘intelligent’. permitting conclusions to be drawn from variables operating at different scales of the multilevel organization. Specific recommendations were made to pursue this research strategy in the HDGCP (see below).
Climate models and climate change
Three important points were repeatedly made:
Predictability - earlier dreams of being able to construct accurate predictive models of weather and climate have been abandoned. As first demons- trated by Lorenz in 1963, ultrasensitivity to initial conditions is sufficient to make such models practi- cally impossible. Presence of non-linear variables, especially with time delay characteristics. makes even the most simple models prone to chaotic behaviour. Uncertainty - with respect to the ability of climate models to isolate determining factors. For example. one volcanic eruption every few years of the Chichonal type is enough to neutralize the impact of increasing greenhouse effect. Validation - is the observed warming trend of the past few years really long-term or merely part of the normal variability of climate over decades?
The most important human aspect of climate at present is the relative vulnerability of a given human society to climatic extremes, be they a trend or part of normal variations. As in the Sahel, where the worst drought effects were caused by a relatively non-severe drought, many communities are much more vulnerable now to the effects of climate extremes. Specific recommendations were made to make the study of such vulnerable communi- ties a research priority (see below).
Implementing the Moscow recommendations
It was felt by most participants that genuine progress was made in Mexico City on the agenda set out by the previous workshop in Moscow. Although not all the issues identi- fied in Moscow were dealt with, others were analysed in much greater detail. In particular, it was felt that progress had been made in overcoming problems facing the integra- tion of human and natural sciences in research.
With respect to the seven general themes summarized in the report of the Moscow workshop, four of these were strongly endorsed as important themes and were further developed in Mexico City.
162 GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE March 1991
recognized that case studies were an indispensable compo- ante of local actors as initiators of global change and nent of global change research, allowing intensive inves- shapers of policy - as revealed in such cases as the Indians tigation of relationships among many variables. In Mexico and rubber tappers of Amazonia. Models should be City, the usefulness of case studies was demonstrated and interactive and serve all sectors of society. the workshop participants were further to suggest that case studies provided a crucial integrative framework by serv- ing as a means of linking micro and global processes.
Further problems of compatibility of data sets and metho- dologies between the social and natural sciences were discussed. Nonetheless, certain concepts, such as the hierarchical systems model discussed above, were seen as providing the elements of a framework for overcoming incompatibilities and designing a truly interdisciplinary research programme. It was further recognized that HDGCP has a responsibility to IGBP to discover relevant social demands and needs with respect to global change issues so that a policy-relevant and useful research agenda is developed jointly.
Theme (3): Relationship of data und model&g to policy
muking. The Mexico City workshop participants endorsed the Moscow declaration that the criterion of policy rele- vance should guide projects undertaken by HDGCP. It was noted that the uses for research results exist at all levels of society, not just with central decision makers. Research should be relevant to all sector needs, involving local scientific, human and material resources, combining both ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ planning and action.
Theme (4): Values that guide data-gathering and models.
At the Mexico City workshop it was further recognized that models and data are not value-neutral. Values under- lying the assumptions incorporated into models should be made explicit so that other value sets can be considered.
With respect to the set of proposals for further action, resulting from the Moscow workshop, the participants in Mexico City further specified several activities.
Proposal (1): Symposium on values and global modell-
ing. This proposal was strongly supported as it reads in the Moscow workshop report. It was also suggested that a research programme be developed for this topic.
Proposul (2): Planning workshop on datu needs. This was also endorsed, with the suggestion that an inventory of relevant case studies be added. Further examples of data incompatibility were reported. Finally, some participants felt that a directory of self-nominated researchers doing social science work on the human dimension of global
change should be developed. Proposal (3): Reseurch on rapid change und vulnerahil-
ity. The importance of social vulnerability was given special emphasis in Mexico City. It was suggested that two themes not mentioned in Moscow be given a prominent place in the research agenda for this issue: (a) research in human biology and nutrition; and (b) research on the poverty-environmental degradation cycle.
Proposal (4): Symposium and reseurch on models and
policy making. The general Moscow proposals were en- dorsed. However, a broader view of environmental policy making emerged. Recognition was given to the import-
Final recommendations took the form of suggested themes for symposia or research programmes.
(I) Committee to draft a conceptual framework for the
study of the human dimensions of global en~~ironmental
change. Many participants felt that the Mexico workshop revealed evidence of considerable progress in resolving the methodological obstacles to the integration of human and natural sciences in global change research. Concepts such as those provided by hierarchical systems theory are the necessary tools for the organization of social science knowledge for global change research. A committee should be formed to draft a proposal for a general framework for defining research priorities in the HDGCP.
(2) Research programme on a geographicul information
system for the study of sociul organization and land use.
Computerized geographical information systems are sug- gested as a useful tool for the study of land use and its socioeconomic and cultural determinants at the local level. They also provide a means of implementing the multilevel spatial organization model, linking socioeconomic and cultural data at different scales to cartography and remote- sensing data on land use. Case studies can be located by ‘progressive contextualization’ into models of deforesta- tion and other global processes. This approach should facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation between the human and earth sciences.
(3) Research programme orI case studies of successful
sustainable development. Research on cases of successful adaptations to natural resources, both traditional and new, was recommended. There should be evaluation of factors, physical, biological and social, which determine success. The programme should examine not only scientific experi- ence but also the knowledge and experience of organiza- tions and individuals. Particular attention should be given to cases of restoration of damaged ecosystems.
(4) Research programmc’, ‘Historical view of cumulutive
change’. The programme should focus on historical cases of human-environment interactions, taking into account global human driving forces (population: technological capacity; style of economic development; social and poli- tical organization; and environmental setting and land use). Special attention should be given to areas where monitoring of current processes is being done.
(5) Research programme on media and other effects on
lay models of global change. The aim of the programme should be to study how the presentation of information affects perception of global change by different publics, including scientists and environmentalists as well as diffe- rent sectors of the lay public. For example, what are the effects of satellite imagery and other new forms of pre- sentation of information on the perception of an environ- mental issue?