Educating Decision Makers about Climate Change

Program Name

Educating Decision Makers about Climate Change

Department(s) or unit(s)

Cornell Agriculture Experiment Station & Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Contact information

Allison Chatrchyan

Program Goals

  • Examine the levels of awareness, knowledge, and behaviors of key stakeholders and decision-makers, and identify barriers to action on climate change;
  • Identify and investigate innovative educational outreach programs, decision tools, and policy alternatives that can influence the behavior of key stakeholders and decision-makers;
  • Investigate how knowledge and learning networks and public/private partnerships can influence decision-makers and outcomes; and
  • Investigate the effectiveness of educational outreach programs, networks, policy recommendations and decision-tools in influencing the behavior of key decision-makers to achieve positive environmental outcomes.

Brief Description

The goal of my research is to develop a more thorough understanding of the knowledge and actions of key stakeholders, including farmers, landowners, natural resource managers, and local officials about critical global and local environmental issues such as climate change, forestry and water resource protection, and the relationship of their behavior to local environmental outcomes.

There is a large gap between current state of knowledge of global climate change and the information that is needed to make decisions at the local level, which is a recognized barrier to progress on climate change adaptation. Decision makers need very practical and localized information about how climate change is going to affect them and their operation or community in order to respond effectively. This research agenda addresses this gap between scientific information and policy and practice, by assessing needs and developing educational, policy and decision-tools to help decision makers and communities respond and adapt. The ultimate goal is to enable decision-makers to make more well-informed, robust decisions about adaptation in the face of uncertainty. The longer-term goal is to reduce the negative effects of extreme events and climate variability on stakeholders, and support and enhance policy-making.

For More Information:


Key publications:

  • Mullen, M, S. Allred, and A. Chatrchyan. 2012. Local Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities: Understanding Municipal Official Perspectives. Cornell University Human Dimensions Research Unit, HDRU Outreach Series No. 12-1, September 2012. 
  • Chatrchyan, A.M. and P. Doughman. 2008. “Climate Policy in the United States: State and Regional Leadership” In Hugh Compston and Ian Bailey. Turning Down the Heat: The Politics of Climate Policy in Affluent Democracies. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Category: Adaptation, Policy, Research

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