Carbon Cycle Science Demand Side Actors
Demand side actors represent a wide array of interests, organizations, government agencies and ngos. Most share a common interest, however, in their desire to use C cycle science in future policy decisions and outcomes. One way in which we can understand the user’s need for C cycle science information is to place their needs in the context of how they might use the C cycle information in future decision making processes. For example, will the demand side actor use the information to promote a ‘public awareness campaign’ that encourages the passage of legislation? Or, will the information be used as a means to account for, and enforce, international carbon sequestration agreements?
Harold Lasswell describes the decision process as comprising a “sequence of seven phases”, which include the phases of intelligence, promotion, prescription, invocation, application, termination and appraisal (1971, p 28). We will utilize these decision phases in order to ‘map’ how and when the demand side actors use the scientific information in order to make decisions and generate outcomes. In so doing we will be able to identify some of the linkages and gaps in the supply and demand of C cycle information. What follows is a summary of some of the actors involved, and is not intended to be an all inclusive list. Also, some organizations listed below use C cycle information in more than one decision phase, such as in intelligence and promotion, but for purposes of simplicity, we have placed them in just one category. (For more information about these companies, please go to ‘Carbon Cycle Science Demand – Links’).
The Intelligence Phase describes the process of gathering, processing and disseminating information that is used by decision makers. Demand side actors use the information during this phase in order to explore the feasibility of potential sequestration projects, identify possible policy alternatives and to enhance their general understanding of C cycle science. One of the largest sectors that demands C cycle science – and one of the largest suppliers of that information – is the United States Government. Demand side actors include:
The Promotion Phase involves a process of advocating for a specific policy alternative by generating support from decision makers for that particular policy choice. In short, this phase is about promoting one policy alternative over another.
The Prescription Phase describes the process of enacting and enforcing policies or rules that carry the weight of law and which are subject to sanctions if the policy is violated. In other words, prescription describes the actual policy decision that is made. C cycle science information is used to help draft the prescriptions.
Invocation and Application
For purposes of simplicity, we will examine Invocation and Application together. The Invocation Phase describes the initial process in which permissible activities and behaviors are permitted with relation to the law or policy that has been prescribed. For example, C cycle scientific information may be used to develop and monitor ‘user rules’ in a carbon trading scheme. Application describes the final part of the process in which disagreements over the prescription are resolved and may involve the imposition of specific sanctions against those individuals whose behavior has not complied with the prescription. Using the carbon trading scheme as an example again, C cycle science information could be used to determine non-compliance with trading rules, thus leading to sanctions such as fines.
The Termination Phase involves the cancellation of the prescription or policy. There are no organizations or agencies that are using C cycle science to inform the termination of any C cycle related prescription at this time.
The Appraisal Phase evaluates the policy prescription in relation to the entire decision process.
Lasswell, Harold D. (1971). A Pre-view of the Policy Sciences. New York: American Elsevier Publishing.