Inderscience Publishers

Information and communication technology and the popular appropriation of sustainability problems

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Integrated assessment (IA) aims at the integration of knowledge from diverse sources as part of the policy-making process. Frequently, IA exploits computer models and other information and communication technology (ICT) in ways that are accessible to and used by only a limited range of scientists or within expert circles. Deepening the interface between citizens and scientists can, in this view, be seen to involve, on the one hand, improved communication of model results and policy analyses to citizens, and, on the other hand, better 'integration' of knowledge held by citizens into the scientific IA process itself. But this is not all. Through and beyond these knowledge and information 'transfer' functions, a reciprocal interactive use of ICT can promote a social 'appropriation' of sustainability problems. This paper explains, with the example of greenhouse gas emissions, how the reciprocal interactive use of ICT can help to create the necessary social and political conditions for robust public policy orientations.

Keywords: climate change, extended peer community, integrated assessment, information and communication technology, ICT, lifestyles

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