date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 23:15:00 +0000
from: Suraje Dessai <s.dessaiatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: RE: Your article submitted to climate policy
Dear Michael and Ray,
I am very glad to hear that Climate Policy will resume publication shortly; I feel very
strongly that this journal should continue since in its short life it has been extremely
successful, in my opinion. We hope our revised review paper (which I attach) can come out
asap, perhaps in the first issue of the journal with the new publishers. Thank you for the
reviewers comments you sent me in December 2003. They were very constructive and I believe
we managed to address all the issues they raised. I next explain the changes Ive made to
the manuscript according to the comments of each reviewer:
Reviewer 1 (Steve)
P10 analogs discussion: Added the sentence Therefore, while analogues can be extremely
useful to calibrate our understanding of how the system works, they are limited by the
unique and transient nature of future climate change.
We decided to delete the Pielke and Sarewitz polemical sentence and the accuracy statement
altogether because of the reviewers comments; We chose not to unpack some of these issues
here because it would increase the word length considerably and it would not flow well with
the text (instead its brought up in a later section).
P14: Added the sentence: For complex systems, like climate change, it is more likely than
with simple well constrained systems that this type of uncertainty grows at first with more
P15: Deleted the unfair sentence a point that was not explicitly mentioned by Grubler and
Nakicenovic (2001) or Shneirder (2002) which we think is important and which completes the
rest of the picture regarding unknowable knowledge. and added synonymous to reflexivity:
which some scientists call human volition or feedback.
P16: Added the sentence: Nonetheless, there are a range of efforts, such as integrated
assessment or agent-based modelling, that try to do just this, even if integrated
assessment has neglected adaptation almost entirely (Toth, 2000) and agent-based modelling
is still immature in its application to climate change (see Ziervogel et al., 2004 for an
application to seasonal climate forecasting).
P18: Corrected this
P24: We believe we already give our views in the text, which are very much in line with the
reviewers comments. We show this in bold here: This is a real danger that only scientists
involved in the research can prevent by proper communication of uncertainty. It is
important to emphasise that these subjective probabilities are highly conditional upon the
assumptions made; again the need to be as explicit and transparent as possible cannot be
emphasised enough. Our view on conditional probabilities is that we should not wait for
perfect information (e.g. a single pdf since this is not attainable because of
unquantifiable uncertainties) before providing decision-makers with the best available
scientific information for their questions. A combination of conditional probabilities and
scenarios will be required.
P25: this paragraph deals with planned adaptation in human systems so it is bound to be
P26: Weve changed the sentence to We believe human reflexive uncertainty is largely
unquantifiable in probabilistic , but I think we fundamentally disagree with the reviewer
in this point. We think he is taking a very narrow view of reflexivity, whereas we are
taking a broad view, also including social and cultural levels. He also seems to focus more
on mitigation, whereas the focus of this paper is exclusively on adaptation. In the context
of adaptation to climate change, quantifying this type of uncertainty is logically
impossible. For example, if we predict there is a 75% probability that we are heading
towards a SRES A2 world (with its associated climate impacts) then people are going to
react to this and change their behaviour accordingly. By doing this, the boundary
conditions of the problem have changed and so the prediction is no longer valid. One could
redo the prediction, but then the boundary conditions would change again (just because
human being think) and so on. Hence our statement that it is unquantifiable.
We have separated section 5.2 (assessment and policy) into section 5.2 (assessment) and
section 5.3 (policy).
1. Added the sentence Probability assessment in the context of climate change is always
subjective, conditional and provisional. to the abstract.
2. Corrected this by changing the sentence to but reflexive human behaviour (i.e., actions
explicitly influenced by information) instead of just mentioning human reflexive
3. The paper does not intend to be comprehensive in terms of climate policy (mitigation and
adaptation); it does intend to be comprehensive in terms of climate adaptation policy so we
have changed the title accordingly. Or course adding a discussion on mitigation policy
would be desirable, but it would also add considerably to the word length.
4. We already make these recommendations in section 5.1. In: Lessons from previous
assessments have shown that a regional approach with the inclusion and participation of
stakeholders has the best potential to advance the assessment and implementation of
adaptation options. Stakeholders are crucial ingredients of what is proposed because they
are the people whose decisions must take account of climate change (and other environmental
stresses), who hold the specialised practical knowledge needed to evaluate adaptation
options, and who are the primary source of technological and managerial activities needed
to implement them (Parson et al. 2003).
We have noted that the article is rather long, but as the reviewers have warned, shortening
it would result in losing its important function of review article and the excellent
scholarship it reports on. Therefore, Id urge the editors to publish the paper as it.
Figure 2 is currently in colour, but if colour printing is not available (at no cost) then
I can easily convert it to black and white.
Please acknowledge the receipt of this e-mail.
At 12:35 19/02/2004 +0100, you wrote:
I am pleased to say that there is now good prospect that Climate Policy will resume
publication under new publishers and I should be able to make an announcement during
With thanks for your patience,
Sent: 17 December 2003 16:36
Cc: Grubb, Michael J
Subject: Your article submitted to climate policy
We are really very sorry that there has been a considerable delay between
you submitting your article to Climate Policy and us communicating a
decision to you as to whether we wish to publish it or not. In principle
we consider the paper nearly ready for publication subject to taking into
account the brief comments of referees (attached) and a significant
shortening of the paper to confirm with word length policy.
As we may have indicated in an earlier previous email there have been
uncertainties surrounding the future of the journal after the initial
contracts with the publishers expire at the end of this year. We had hoped
to inform you by now as to whether the publishers Elsevier have reached a
decision as to the future of the journal beyond 2003, but unfortunately
despite our very best efforts they have not. As a direct result of this Ray
and I have had no option but to resign from our positions at Climate Policy
and we regret to inform you that we will cease working for Climate Policy
at the end of this month when the contracts with the publishers expire
We understand your frustration that no decision has been made on your
submitted paper and we really do empathize. We have also being waiting for
a decision from Elsevier for many months now. We do not know whether the
journal will continue with other editors, in another form, or will fold at
this stage. We suggest that if you have any further queries regarding the
future of the journal and your paper that you should contact Jacques
Kiebert at Elseiver on the following email J.KiebertatXYZxyzevier.nl - it would
be useful if you could copy any email sent to him to the climate policy
email as well so we can forward the current state of refereeing concerning
Michael also may be in touch with you in the New Year concerning an
alternative journal for publication that may be able to take your paper
Thanks and good wishes
Michael Grubb and Ray Purdy
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