FOR CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH DEFINED AT SCIENCE WORKSHOP
Collaboration among 13 Government Agencies, Academia and the Public Lays
Groundwork for next Five Years of U.S.-led Climate Change Science
3, 2002 — The U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Planning
Workshop for Scientists and Stakeholders begins today in Washington with
more than 1,200 scheduled to attend. Those registered come from a wide
range of interests in academia, government and economic and environmental
organizations, including those from more than 30 countries and almost
every state in the United States.
workshop will present the current state of climate change science and
gather comments from both scientists and public stakeholders on defining
a strategy for continuing and accelerating climate observations and research.
Some of the topics include carbon and water cycles, atmospheric composition,
climate variability and change, human contributions and responses to climate
change, international scientific collaboration and others. Participants
will also discuss the specifics of the strategy for scientific research
into causes of climate change, understanding natural variability and expanding
global observing systems, among other topics.
workshop will ‘jump start’ a comprehensive review of the updated
research and reporting plans for U.S. global change research,” said
Commerce Secretary Don
Evans. “Our work will focus on key unresolved issues, plans
for needed global climate and ecosystem monitoring systems and plans to
develop and demonstrate decision support resources to facilitate public
discussion about climate change.”
The objective of the workshop is to review the Strategic Plan Climate
Change Science Program, a document that sets the direction of climate-change
research initiatives led by the U.S. government, and directly responds
to President Bush’s call that the best scientific information be
developed to assist the United States in developing a well reasoned approach
to global climate change issues. The Strategic Plan is a road map for
U.S. global climate change research programs to meet the highest standards
of credibility, transparency and responsiveness to the scientific community,
interested user groups and international partners.
“Comprehensive activities are under way to accelerate the elements
of our nation’s climate and global change research, monitoring and
decision tool development,” Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said.
“As an example, the Energy Department is hosting public meetings
to improve the technologies to measure and monitor greenhouse gas emissions.
We have also just expanded our program to develop carbon sequestration,
a promising technology in which carbon emissions are captured and permanently
stored, rather than being released into the atmosphere.”
The workshop is coordinated by the Climate
Change Science Program, a precedent-setting intergovernmental collaboration
between 13 science-intensive agencies. Charged with overseeing the science
projects for the Congressionally mandated U.S. Global Climate Research
Program and the White House-sponsored Climate Change Research Initiative,
CCSP is comprised of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce,
Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, State, and Transportation,
The Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution and U.S. Agency for
“In announcing the Climate Change Research Initiative, President
Bush directed us to reestablish priorities for climate change research,
including a focus on identifying the scientific information that can be
developed within two to five years to assist the nation’s evaluation
of optimal strategies to address global change risks,” said James
Mahoney, director of CCSP and assistant secretary of commerce for
oceans and atmosphere. “We’re setting our goals high to undertake
climate change research at an accelerated rate compared to the previous
decade so that policy-decision-support resources are available for action
in the near future.”
The workshop incorporates a process that is open, inclusive and robust.
Registration for participants was open to the public, with no charge for
attendance. Discussions will address specific questions outlined in a
report by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 regarding scientific
uncertainty concerning climate change, and will map out the strategy by
which these uncertainties can be cleared up or better understood.
on the Strategic Plan may be provided during the workshop and during a
subsequent public comment period extending until Jan. 13, 2003. A specially
formed committee of the National Research Council is also reviewing the
Strategic Plan, and will provide its analysis of the plan, the workshop
and the written comments received. A final version of the Strategic Plan,
setting a path for the next few years of research under the CCSP will
be published by April 2003. The draft version of the Strategic
Plan is available online.
uncertainty in climate models will have a major impact on determining
policy on mitigation steps affecting emission management, curbing greenhouse-gas
production and forecasting the scope of impact on ecosystems.
of climate change affect every aspect of the world including commerce,
technology, agriculture, weather, transportation and more. The scientific
data used as a basis for policy must be accurate, comprehensive and verified
by several disciplines across government, academia and private industry,
Mahoney said. Policy decisions made in a less-than-fully informed environment
could do more damage than good. The full use of scientific information
must be exercised to determine the optimal actions on global, national
and regional scales.
workshop will continue until Dec. 5 and will be webcast for those unable
to attend but interested in participating.
Climate Change Science
Laborde, NOAA, (202) 482-6090