Fahrenheit 59: An environmental decision support system for benchmarking global warming at Johnson Space Center

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Purpose: The overwhelming majority of scientists agree the earth's temperature has risen during the past century. Nature maintains a balance to keep the earth's average surface temperature at 59 degrees Fahrenheit. About 59 degrees is to earth what 98.6 degrees is to our body. Although, the fact that the earth's temperature has risen is generally not in dispute by scientists, environmental decisions remain among the most difficult facing policy makers. Fahrenheit 59 is an environmental decision support system developed at Johnson Space Center for benchmarking global warming. This paper aims to present the details of the benchmarking model embedded in Fahrenheit 59.

Design/methodology/approach: The model attempts to establish benchmark scores that are weighted sum measures of subjective and intrinsic weights and performance scores associated with a series of global warming opportunities and threats. Fahrenheit 59 has the potential to monitor continuous progress towards countering the threat of global warming worldwide.

Findings: The European Union (EU) is at the forefront of international efforts to combat global warming. The EU has been taking serious steps to address its own greenhouse gas emissions and climate changes. A pilot study conducted resulted in a benchmarking scheme that shows of the 27‐member EU states, seven were global protectors, four were global remediators, 12 were global defectors, and four were global predators.

Originality/value: Fahrenheit 59 assists policy makers concerned about global warming to compare environmental performance with “best‐in‐class” achievements. The proposed system bridges the gap between technology and decision making to stimulate environmental awareness and activism.




Tavana, M. (2008) ‘Fahrenheit 59: An Environmental Decision Support System for Benchmarking Global Warming at Johnson Space Center,’ Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 307-325.