National Academies Critiques U.S. Climate Change Science Program

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Sep 2007 19:57:00 GMT

The Committee on Strategic Advice for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program today released the report Evaluating Progress of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. Their conclusions:
  • A major hurdle to CCSP progress is the program director’s lack of authority to allocate or prioritize funding across participating agencies.
  • Discovery science and understanding of the climate system are proceeding well, but use of that knowledge to support decision making and to manage risks and opportunities of climate change is proceeding slowly.
  • Progress in understanding and predicting climate change has improved more at global, continental, and ocean basin scales than at regional and local scales.
  • Our understanding of the impact of climate changes on human well-being and vulnerabilities is much less developed than our understanding of the natural climate system.
  • Science quality observation systems have fueled advances in climate change science and applications, but many existing and planned observing systems (satellite missions) have been cancelled, delayed, or degraded, presenting perhaps the single greatest threat to the future success of CCSP.
  • Progress in communicating CCSP results and engaging stakeholders is inadequate.

The Committee on Strategic Advice was established by the National Research Council of the National Academies at the request of the director of the CCSP.

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program is the umbrella organization for the interagency U.S. Global Climate Research Group established by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, and Bush’s 2001 Climate Change Research Initiative to study uncertainty in climate research.

See also Andrew Revkin’s piece for the New York Times.

The committee is holding a workshop in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15-17, to discuss future priorities for CCSP research, which will be the focus of its follow-up report.