Scholarly Work - Political Science

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    Romance Lands and Conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
    (Montana State University, 2023) Johnson, Jerry
    To fully grasp the significance of this story we explore the history of the West, the development of Yellowstone National Park, something about the discipline of conservation biology and related policy sciences, Grizzly bear recovery, and eventually the contemporary economy and social setting of the region. The Greater Yellowstone is a model of how to build a regional system of international importance and local well-being.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework
    (Montana State University Library, 2022) Jones, Michael D.; McBeth, Mark K.; Shanahan, Elizabeth A.
    A long history of literature describes how stories are central to how humans understand and communicate about the world around them. The NPF applies these discoveries to the policy process, whereby narratives are meaning-making tools used to capture attention and influence policy outcomes. Conceived at the Portneuf School of Narrative in the early part of the century and formally named in 2010, the Narrative Policy Framework’s (NPF) initial purpose was to scientifically understand the relationship between narratives and the policy process. Since its seminal naming, the NPF’s charter has expanded to non-scientific approaches (Gray & Jones, 2015; Jones and Radaelli, 2015), to science and policy communication, as well as proclaiming normative commitments to both science and democracy. Recently, guideline publications have also been produced that provide detailed instructions about how to conduct NPF research. Along the way several summary pieces have chronicled the NPF’s development. Two of these NPF assessments were part of larger collections of NPF studies, including the 2014 edited volume The Science of Stories and a special NPF symposium issue featured in the Policy Studies Journal. On par with NPF collections emerging every four years, here we offer a third collection of NPF studies that represent some of the best NPF studies to date.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 10: Innovations and Future Directions for the Narrative Policy Framework
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Shanahan, Elizabeth A.; McBeth, Mark K.; Jones, Michael D.
    The NPF started as an iterative scientific journey exploring whether narratives play a role in the policy process. Because we were prepared to be wrong—even warned and such—we never would have predicted what the next fifteen years would yield. Yet, two things happened. First, our results held over time, indicating that narratives could be systematically and thus reliably studied as a critical mechanism of policy change. Second, scholarly interest in the NPF exploded. Thus, with the NPF’s seminal naming, subsequent articles, and the first edited volume, we set out to create a comprehensive framework for the study of narratives in the policy process.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 9: A Narrative Policy Framework Solution to Understanding Climate Change Framing Research
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Wolters, Erika Allen; Jones, Michael D.
    The climate change framing literature is vast. So much so that researchers—whether seasoned framing scholars or those foraying into climate change framing research for the first time—can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of studies, the vast array of concepts deployed, the variation in how these same concepts are operationalized, the nuance of a barely numerable assortment of contexts, and the effects all of the aforementioned have on interpreting findings. Here we offer a synthetic review of said literature, focusing on adaptation and mitigation framing studies and findings. In so doing, we first briefly distill the overall developmental arc of climate change framing research. We then provide a conventionally styled thematic overview of the mitigation and adaptation climate change studies. Among other conclusions, we find that while there has been a proliferation of climate change framing research, the findings and the studies themselves are often quite disparate from one another. Moreover, as the literature speaks to itself intermittently and in an ad hoc fashion, it is not readily apparent how climate change framing studies holistically fit together. As a solution to this problem, we offer the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) as a narrative heuristic to help climate change researchers and communicators organize and understand the literature. We argue that an NPF integration of this inherently unwieldy literature increases the likelihood of research utilization and improves the ability of climate change communicators to inform people about the risks of climate change.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 8: A Nonviolent Narrative for European Integration?
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Baldoli, Roberto; Radaelli, Claudio M.
    Can we craft a narrative of European integration that contrasts populist narratives while resonating with the concerns of disaffected citizens? If this task is feasible, how do we leverage the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) to pursue a normative aim, and what are the implications of this normative mode of analysis? To answer these questions, we start from the core properties shared by populist narratives of the European Union. Then we present a possible alternative narrative, grounded in nonviolence as an analytical and normative framework. We compare setting, characters, plot, and moral of the story—first in the populist version and then in the nonviolent alternative. We find that nonviolence can be geared towards a narrative response to the populist account of European integration. We discuss the potential and implications of our normative contribution in terms of ethics and responsibility, contrasting constructive and destructive normative NPF.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 7: Sanctuary Cities, Focusing Events, and the Solidarity Shift: A Standard Measurement of the Prevalence of Victims for the Narrative Policy Framework
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Smith-Walter, Aaron; Fritz, Emily; O’Doherty, Shannon
    Numerous state and local jurisdictions across the United States have adopted policies limiting their cooperation with federal deportation efforts carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sometimes referred to as “sanctuary cities,” these jurisdictions interpret federalism in a way that resists active participation in federal immigration enforcement. Employing the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF), we analyze 164 public consumption documents to examine policy narratives disseminated by interest groups engaged in the policy debate surrounding sanctuary cities between 2010 and 2017. Using data derived from a content analysis of these documents, we develop a new measure, the solidarity shift, to capture the prevalence of victims in policy narratives; we find there are significant differences in the narrative strategies employed by advocates and opponents of sanctuary jurisdictions, with opponents’ narratives demonstrating more active responses to external events and a higher proportion of victims, relative to other characters. We also find that the killing of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco can be seen as a focusing event because of the narrative actions of anti-sanctuary city advocates and their reliance on the solidarity shift, which resulted in significant changes to anti-sanctuary city narrative strategies.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 6: Speaking from Experience: Medicaid Consumers as Policy Storytellers
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Colville, Kathleen; Merry, Melissa K.
    Kentucky’s proposed Medicaid reforms, initiated in 2016 and blocked in federal court in 2018 and again in 2019, elicited an extraordinary volume of public input on the value of Medicaid (publicly-funded health insurance for low-income individuals). Personal statements from current and former Medicaid consumers, through written comments submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, offer insights into the strategies employed by a segment of the public that contributes infrequently to policy debates. Through a combination of manual and automated content analysis of a random sample of 1100 public comments, we analyze the policy narratives of participants, examining how narrative and non-narrative elements varied depending on commenters’ relationship to Medicaid consumers. Nearly all comments met (and most exceeded) the threshold for a policy narrative, while relatively few comments drew on research-based content typically considered privileged in the rule-making process. Further, these narrative elements cohered in distinct storylines from current and past Medicaid consumers and from those who identified as service providers. This research underscores the importance of narratives as sources of evidence in regulatory processes and suggests that public comments are fertile ground for research using the Narrative Policy Framework. This work also illuminates bottom-up narrative construction, a process thus far overlooked in micro-level research presuming that citizens are passive recipients of narratives, rather than producers themselves. For future work examining micro-level narrative production, we identify important considerations, including the role of narrator trust, audience, forms of evidence, setting, and the interaction between the meso and micro levels.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 5: Lost in Translation: Narrative Salience of Fear > Hope in Prevention of COVID-19
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Peterson, Holly L.; Zanocco, Chad; Smith-Walter, Aaron
    Using short, policy-image-like narratives, we explore the relationship between narrative agreement and narrative impacts in the case of COVID-19 in the US. Building upon previous research which identified attention narratives focusing on problems “stories of fear” and those focusing on solutions “stories of hope,” we use a narrative survey experiment of the general public (n=1000) to test the salience of problem and solution narratives and if they impact agreement with Center for Disease Control (CDC) prevention guidelines. Our findings are 1) fear story agreement is partisan but hope story agreement is not 2) fear story is the more salient of the two, 3) narrative agreement for both fear and hope were related to CDC safety guideline agreement, but were partisan, and 4) exposure to neither narrative impacted likelihood to agree with the guidelines as compared to a control group. Our findings are consistent with previous work indicating a Democratic party preference for stories of fear, where Democrats were more likely to support policy action. While we find that agreement with our narratives and guidelines is related, neither narrative treatment successfully altered support for CDC guidelines, suggesting a potential limit for the influence of narratives to either change or reorder existing preferences in highly salient and partisan issue areas like COVID-19 and suggesting a need for more research into the dynamics of narrative attention.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 4: Agreement and Trust: In Narratives or Narrators?
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Lybecker, Donna L.; McBeth, Mark K.; Sargent, Jessica M.
    Narratives concerning the working class and their relationship to climate change are important. In particular, how the narrative constructs the relationship and, within this, who communicates a narrative (the narrator) is key. That said, this is a less studied element; the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) has limited research on narrators. Subsequently, this work examines individuals’ support of narratives and narrators using an Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) survey of 435 participants. After pretesting for climate change views, the subjects chose which narrator they expected to agree with: Mechanic Pat or Organic Farmer Chris. Through randomization, subjects joined either a congruent treatment group (Mechanic Pat tells the anti-climate change narrative and Organic Farmer Chris tells the pro-climate change narrative) or an incongruent treatment group (Mechanic Pat tells the pro-climate change narrative and Organic Farmer Pat tells the anti-climate change narrative). Results indicate that before reading the narratives, climate change “devotees” (those who agree that climate change is occurring and is human-caused) thought they would agree with Organic Farmer Chris over Mechanic Pat. Whereas there was division in the climate change “skeptics” (those who disagree that climate change is real and human-caused) on the question of what narrator they thought they would agree with. Devotees significantly supported the pro-climate change working-class narrative when told by Organic Farmer Chris as compared to when Mechanic Pat told the same narrative. Further showing the power of a narrator, devotees supported the anti-working class climate change narrative more when told by Organic Farmer Chris rather than when Mechanic Pat told the same narrative. Our findings demonstrate that narrators matter and suggest that the NPF needs to consider narrators as a narrative element worthy of further study.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 3: Stepping Forward: Towards a More Systematic NPF with Automation
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Wolton, Laura P.; Crow, Deserai A.; Heikkila, Tanya
    Advancements in automated text analysis have substantially increased our capacity to study large volumes of documents systematically in policy process research. The Narrative Policy Framework (NPF)—which promotes empirical analysis of narratives—has the potential to usher policy narrative research along the same path. Using the NPF and existing semi-automated analysis tools, we investigate the relationship between narrative components—namely, characters and proposed solutions—and the more “skeletal” frames that tie policy narrative elements to one another. To illustrate how these tools can advance policy narrative research, we auto-code 5,708 state and local news articles focusing on hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas. The findings suggest that the use and role of characters and policy solutions are portrayed in significantly different ways depending on the frame used. By using an autocoding approach, these findings increase our methodological and theoretical understanding of the relationship between narrative elements and frames in policy narratives. In discussing these findings, we also consider their implications for how issue frames matter theoretically in the NPF.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 2: Discourse Network Analysis of Nuclear Narratives
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Gupta, Kuhika; Ripberger, Joseph; Fox, Andrew; Jenkins-Smith, Hank; Silva, Carol
    This study combines insight from discourse network analysis (DNA) and the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) to develop a new approach to studying narrative discourse within and across policy coalitions. The approach facilitates examination of narrative cohesion, which may impact the stability of coalitions as well as narrative discourse on policy change. We demonstrate the value of the approach by using it to study meta narratives on Twitter within and across groups of policy actors who support and oppose the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States. The approach reveals a variety of patterns that are unlikely to be seen using more common approaches to narrative policy analysis. Most notably, there were signs of narrative cohesion within both groups, but there were also slight fissures that may indicate strategic efforts to communicate with different constituents or fault lines that threaten group stability. These findings set the stage for future work on the relationship between narrative cohesion and policy outcomes.
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    Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 1: A Brief Introduction to the Narrative Policy Framework
    (Pressbooks, 2022) Jones, Michael D.; McBeth, Mark K.; Shanahan, Elizabeth A.
    A long history of literature describes how stories are central to how humans understand and communicate about the world around them. The NPF applies these discoveries to the policy process, whereby narratives are meaning-making tools used to capture attention and influence policy outcomes. Conceived at the Portneuf School of Narrative in the early part of the century and formally named in 2010, the Narrative Policy Framework’s (NPF) initial purpose was to scientifically understand the relationship between narratives and the policy process. Since its seminal naming, the NPF’s charter has expanded to non-scientific approaches (Gray & Jones, 2015; Jones and Radaelli, 2015), to science and policy communication, as well as proclaiming normative commitments to both science and democracy. Recently, guideline publications have also been produced that provide detailed instructions about how to conduct NPF research. Along the way several summary pieces have chronicled the NPF’s development. Two of these NPF assessments were part of larger collections of NPF studies, including the 2014 edited volume The Science of Stories and a special NPF symposium issue featured in the Policy Studies Journal. On par with NPF collections emerging every four years, here we offer a third collection of NPF studies that represent some of the best NPF studies to date. This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the NPF and is followed by a short introduction to the contents of this volume.
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    Personalism and the politics of central bank independence under authoritarianism
    (Taylor & Francis, 2022-11) Redwood, Susanne M.
    This paper provides a domestic explanation for variation in de jure central bank independence (CBI) in nondemocracies. I argue that there is a nonlinear relationship between personalism and CBI: regimes with very low and very high levels of personalism tend to have lower CBI compared to states with intermediate personalism. Where personalization is low, autocrats face greater constraints and more frequent political challenges, leading to increased contestation over political institutions. In these states, leaders choose lower CBI to signal their control over monetary policymaking and prevent dissent over economic policy. In contrast, in strongly personalist regimes, leaders face few risks associated with CBI, but they discount the benefits of CBI and thus prefer not to implement costly central bank reforms. Nondemocracies with intermediate levels of personalism tend to have the highest levels of CBI. I support these arguments using recent data on CBI from 1970–2012.
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    Advancing food democracy: The potential and limits of food policy positions in local government
    (Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, 2021-10) Berglund, Erika; Hassanein, Neva; Lachapelle, Paul; Stephens, Caroline
    For several decades, food policy councils (FPCs) have led the effort to place food on local govern­ment policy agendas. While FPCs are making pro­gress in supporting local food systems, they also face institutional and organizational challenges. In recent years, a handful of cities and counties have endeavored to further food system reform with the establishment of full-time government staff posi­tions focused on food policy. As of spring 2020, there were 19 confirmed food policy positions housed in local governments across the United States. While there is considerable literature on FPCs, little research has been published regarding food policy staffing in local governments. Accordingly, this study uses original in-depth inter­views with 11 individuals in municipal or county food policy positions to understand the purpose and function of governmental food policy staff positions and their impact on local food systems. Our findings suggest that these positions help to coordinate and nurture local food programs and policies and have the potential to facilitate mean­ingful participation of individuals and groups in the community in food system reform. We discuss the potential benefits and challenges for governmental food policy positions to support food democracy, and provide the following recom­mendations for communities interested in estab­lishing or strengthening similar positions: (1) iden­tify and coordinate existing opportunities and assets, (2) foster and maintain leadership support, (3) root the work in community, (4) connect with other food policy professionals, and (5) develop a food system vision.
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    Bounded Stories
    (Wiley, 2018-11) Shanahan, Elizabeth A.; Raile, Eric D.; French, Kate A.; McEvoy, Jamie
    Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) and framing scholars share an interest in how the construction of policy arguments influences opinions and policy decisions. However, conceptual clarification is needed. This study advances the NPF by clarifying the meaning and function of frames and narrative, as well as their respective roles in creating policy realities. We explore sociological and psychological roots of framing scholarship and map these onto NPF’s science of narratives philosophy, suggesting that narratives can reveal internally held cognitive schemas. We focus on issue categorization frames as boundaries for narrative construction. Within these bounds, narrative settings further focalize the audience by specifying where action toward a solution takes place. Based on 26 interviews with floodplain decision makers in Montana, we capture internally held cognitions through the assemblage of issue categorization frames and narrative elements. We find that settings can traverse issue categorization frames and policy solutions, with actions of characters that unfold within the setting being key. Similarly, we find that a single issue categorization frame can contain multiple different narratives and that individuals may simultaneously hold multiple different narratives internally. Overall, this study contributes to policy process research through establishment of connections among narratives, issue categorization frames, and cognitive schemas.
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    Characters matter: How narratives shape affective responses to risk communication
    (Public Library of Science, 2019-12) Shanahan, Elizabeth A.; Reinhold, Ann Marie; Raile, Eric D.; Poole, Geoffrey C.; Ready, Richard C.; Izurieta, Clemente; McEvoy, Jamie; Bergmann, Nicolas T.; King, Henry
    Introduction. Whereas scientists depend on the language of probability to relay information about hazards, risk communication may be more effective when embedding scientific information in narratives. The persuasive power of narratives is theorized to reside, in part, in narrative transportation. Purpose. This study seeks to advance the science of stories in risk communication by measuring real-time affective responses as a proxy indicator for narrative transportation during science messages that present scientific information in the context of narrative. Methods. This study employed a within-subjects design in which participants (n = 90) were exposed to eight science messages regarding flood risk. Conventional science messages using probability and certainty language represented two conditions. The remaining six conditions were narrative science messages that embedded the two conventional science messages within three story forms that manipulated the narrative mechanism of character selection. Informed by the Narrative Policy Framework, the characters portrayed in the narrative science messages were hero, victim, and victim-to-hero. Natural language processing techniques were applied to identify and rank hero and victim vocabularies from 45 resident interviews conducted in the study area; the resulting classified vocabulary was used to build each of the three story types. Affective response data were collected over 12 group sessions across three flood-prone communities in Montana. Dial response technology was used to capture continuous, second-by-second recording of participants’ affective responses while listening to each of the eight science messages. Message order was randomized across sessions. ANOVA and three linear mixed-effects models were estimated to test our predictions. Results. First, both probabilistic and certainty science language evoked negative affective responses with no statistical differences between them. Second, narrative science messages were associated with greater variance in affective responses than conventional science messages. Third, when characters are in action, variation in the narrative mechanism of character selection leads to significantly different affective responses. Hero and victim-to-hero characters elicit positive affective responses, while victim characters produce a slightly negative response. Conclusions// In risk communication, characters matter in audience experience of narrative transportation as measured by affective responses.
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    Indigenous Peoples' Responses to Conquest
    (Elsevier BV, 2022) Wilmer, Franke
    While American students learn that Columbus' first voyage to the western hemisphere set the stage for colonization and settler states that are regarded by many as successful democracies, Indigenous peoples living in those states today view that historical chapter less favorably. For many Indigenous peoples, who originated in these areas before the arrival of European settlers, the arrival of Europeans signaled a long period of struggle for their physical and cultural survival. Yet they have never remained passive in the face of imperialistic and settler state-building, and their resistance presents these democracies with new challenges.
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    Questioning scrutiny: the effect of Prime Minister’s Questions on citizen efficacy and trust in parliament
    (Informa UK Limited, 2020-12) Convery, Alan; Haines, Pavielle; Mitchell, James; Parker, David C. W.
    In most democratic regimes, the public often dislikes and distrusts parliamentarians. This should not surprise: the public likes neither compromise nor conflict, both of which are legislative hallmarks. One of the most famous examples of parliamentary conflict is Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the British House of Commons. It is the most viewed and commented upon part of the parliamentary week, but attracts strong criticism as a noisy charade promoting a poor image of politics. Does PMQs undermine individual levels of political efficacy and trust in Parliament, as some commentators suggest? We use an experimental design to answer this question and find evidence to suggest that, contrary to its negative reputation, PMQs does not adversely affect most citizens’ perceptions.
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    Rethinking the heuristic traps paradigm in avalanche education: Past, present and future
    (2020-08) Johnson, Jerry; Mannberg, Andrea; Hendrikx, Jordy; Hetland, Audun; Stephensen, Matthew
    This paper will review the emergence and adoption of decision heuristics as a conceptual framework within the avalanche research and education community and demonstrate how this emphasis on the heuristic decision framework has anchored and was critical in redefining the discussion around avalanche accidents. This paradigm has been a critical and meaningful step in recognizing the importance of decision making in avalanche accidents. However, in an attempt to reduce the incidence of fatal accidents, the adoption of these ideas within the wider avalanche community has overlooked some clearly stated limitations within the foundational work of the heuristic decision frame. With respect to the concept of heuristic traps in conventional avalanche education, the concepts are poorly operationalized to the extent that they are vague about what exactly they describe. The result is that as presently framed, they are of negligible value to avalanche education that seeks its basis on the best available information. We end with a discussion, and a call to action to the avalanche research community, of how we could move towards resolution of these weaknesses and add value to prior work on human factor research. Our aim is not to disparage the seminal, paradigm shifting work by McCammon, but rather draw attention to how it has been operationalized and how the industry needs to move beyond this paradigm to see further gains in our understanding of avalanche fatalities.
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    Climate Action Plan Research Report 2021
    (Montana State University, 2021-06) Bondurant, Nicole; Corradino, Dominic; Fitzmaurice, Nicholas; Halvorson, Cy; Myers, Raye; Stone, Megan; Thompson, Jessica; Washburn, Savanna
    This report examines both the development and implementation of climate action plans in higher educational settings. Research strategies include conducting a literature review utilizing reference management software; collecting institutional data on universities across the United States; narrowing the scope of our research down to the following four case study institutions based on their similarities to Montana State University: Colorado State University (CSU), University of Montana (UM), Utah State University (USU), and Weber State University (WSU); analyzing those universities’ climate action plans and supporting documents; interviewing individuals involved with climate action plan development and implementation from each university; and synthesizing our data based on thematic categories into key findings. These key findings, addressing what institutions in higher education must accomplish in order to see successful climate action taken on their campus, include but are not limited to (1) Establish and secure a reliable, substantial, and centralized funding source; (2) Secure support and endorsement from top university leadership, primarily the President; (3) Conduct a comprehensive GHG emissions inventory baseline, tracking progress through annual inventories; (4) Create a public carbon neutrality goal with interim benchmarks and detailed steps outlining how to reach them; (5) Engage campus and community stakeholders early and extensively in the planning process; (6) Establish institutional accountability mechanisms to ensure the implementation of projects, goals, and plan updates by explicitly identifying timelines, resources, and responsibilities; (7) Communicate the economics of CAP projects effectively; (8) Acknowledge current data gaps and uncertainties and plan to address them; and (9) Incorporate climate justice. While this study focuses on generating recommendations for the drafting and adoption of a new climate action plan on the Montana State University-Bozeman campus, our findings can also serve as a launchpad for future climate action planning endeavors, adaptations, and mitigation strategies at other higher education institutions striving to respond to the climate crisis.
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