Research Day 1: Skimming the Longest Tomes

I’m starting by skimming the longer reports I’ve chosen for the quarter. I’m doing this to give myself a teaser of what to expect and estimate how long each report will take to read.

For the longer documents, I’m giving myself two weeks to read and annotate each of them. For the shorter documents, a week should suffice. I’m not typically reading these cover-to-cover as if they were novels. Rather, I’m familiarizing myself with useful information that I can come back to, and identifying more directions to pursue.

Here are the questions I’m asking myself while I’m skimming:

  • What is the document, in simple terms?
  • When is it from?
  • What type of language does it use – legalese, engineering-speak, or layman-friendly?
  • What am I looking for in this document?
  • How many (readable) pages is it, excluding appendices and references?
  • What cited resources do I want to add to my TBR (‘to be read’ as the Booktubers say)?

The links to all the reports are in the post I wrote defining the project.

UNEP Emissions Gap Report

What it is: An assessment of climate mitigations pledged, implemented, and the gap that needs to be covered to limit warming to 1.5 deg or 2 deg C.

When it’s from: October 2021.

What type of language it uses: Policy, economics, and science.

What I’m looking for: I want to know the main areas of potential improvement. I have questions like: what is needed in each sector? How much investment is there already? How can I (we) participate in these improvements, through our jobs, volunteer work, personal lives, communication, or lifestyle?

Number of readable pages: 63, excluding the references, since I don’t usually ‘read’ the references section. I just ‘refer’ to them.

Citation I’m adding to my TBR: September 2021 NDC Synthesis Report by UNFCCC.

Taking Stock 2021

What it is: An assessment of what US greenhouse gas emission trends are expected to look like, based on current federal and state policy made by a think tank called the Rhodium Group.

When it’s from: July 2021.

Type of language used: Mostly economics-related, but it seems pretty layman-friendly. (Which is good. I don’t know much economics yet.)

What I’m looking for: What is driving emissions in each sector? (And what can I and we do about it?)

Ooh. The section ‘Drilling Deeper: Key trends by sector’ – that’s what I want to know.

Number of readable pages (main): 15, excluding the Technical Appendix starts on page 15. I may refer to the Technical Appendix if I have questions, but I won’t read it in the traditional sense.

2021 Aviation Climate Action Plan

What it is: A policy framework for the aviation sector to become more sustainable, released by the Biden Administration.

When it’s from: November 2021.

Types of language used: Engineering, economics, policy.

What I’m looking for: Answers to questions like:

  • What are the key enabling technologies for sustainable aviation?
  • What can we do to influence this?

Number of readable pages: 35, excluding the glossary.

Coming up

So that’s my skim of the biggest reports on my list! Next, I’ll skim the smaller links. Then I’ll be ready to get into the first big report in detail.

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