Climate Impacts on the Pacific Northwest
Winter Quarter 2011
White Paper Assignment
Jump to ...
For the climate impacts term project, you will work in a group to develop a climate vulnerability and adaptation assessment for a real-world jurisdiction (management and/or policy-making body) in the Pacific Northwest. In this project, your team will take the role of a consultant to the jurisdiction, that is, analyzing and discussing options and trade-offs. You will recommend a course of action and discuss the pros and cons of following your recommendation.
Specifically, we expect you to assess and describe the utility of using one or more of the following types of climate information:
Whenever possible, you will incorporate and analyze relevant quantitative climate (impacts) information.
Write your paper as if it were being submitted to your identified client.
You will be assigned to an interdisciplinary group of 3-4 students for this project.
As preparation for the group project ... This American Life (Radio Show). 2008. Prologue: Ruining it for the Rest of Us. Episode #370. 19 December. ... Listen to the first 12 minutes -- continue through the show description at about 7.5 minutes.
A brief (<= 1 page) discussion of your proposed topic is due February 3. We ask that each group of students arrange a time to meet with us to discuss your proposed topic prior to submitting the prospectus. The prospectus should provide a synopsis of (1) the decision-making jurisdiction, the specific decision-maker, and the decision or planning activity or process, (2) the relevance of climate (impacts) information to this decision process and the type of climate (impacts) information you plan to draw on in your proposal, (3) the natural resource decision-making context (relevant laws and policies, economic and political considerations, etc.), and (4) key sources that you intend to draw on in your research.
Format & Content of the Paper
For the most part, the white paper should be written as if it would actually be submitted to the people who could make the change you propose. You may need to include some additional background information (on the agency/decision in question, for example) that the instructors would need to understand the paper.
The white paper itself should be 10-15 pages long (including figures, tables, and references) using Times 12 pt. font, 1.5 line spacing and 1" margins. It should include a one page executive summary. Think of this, and your in-class presentation, as a chance to boil your argument and the supporting evidence down to its most convincing essence – oftentimes, the executive summary is all that a policymaker will read. Does it contain all the information you need to convince your client?
Each white paper should include the following components of analysis:
Wherever possible, you will incorporate quantitative climate (impacts) information.
Some other questions to consider: Are there specific barriers that must be overcome before improved or innovative use of climate information is possible? How do you propose that your client overcome them? Are there consequences to ignoring climate information? How should scientific uncertainty about projected climate impacts be handled in the decision process?
Format & Content of the Oral Presentation
You should begin by providing your classmates sufficient background information about your client for them to assume the role of your client during your presentation. You will then make your presentation as if it were directly to your client. Both your classmates and the instructors will evaluate the soundness and persuasiveness of your proposal and will provide feedback that should be incorporated in your final paper.
Criteria for Evaluation of Final Paper
Please present a clear, focused, well-developed and substantiated argument; write clearly and carefully; and get the facts right. A quality paper:
Self-Evaluation of Group Work
On the due date of the white paper, each team member must turn in a written statement evaluating the work done in his/her group. The guidelines for this evaluation can be found here.
We will be happy to provide feedback at any stage of the project, from engaging in discussions and/or brainstorming sessions to commenting on drafts.