Letter from James R. Mahoney
September 17, 2002
Dr. Bruce Alberts
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418
Subject: Requested Review of the Updated U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan by the National Academies
I am writing in my role as Director of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, involving the collaboration of thirteen federal agencies responsible for sponsoring research on climate change and global change issues. The Climate Change Science Program is responsible for reporting the results of the sponsored research in a manner that facilitates public debate about climate change policy issues, and that provides analyses useful for decision-making by natural resource and infrastructure managers throughout the United States. The Climate Change Science Program incorporates the work of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) authorized by Global Change Research Act of 1990 and the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) launched by President Bush in June 2001.
Thanks very much for taking the time to discuss our plans for the formulation and public review of an updated strategic plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program during our recent meeting in your office. Confirming my verbal request during our meeting, the thirteen collaborating agencies in the Climate Change Science Program request that the appropriate elements of the National Academies appoint a committee to undertake a thorough review of the Program’s draft strategic plan that is currently in development.
The approach to open scientific and stakeholder review of the Program’s draft strategic plan is described in the Announcement and Invitation for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program: Planning Workshop for Scientists and Stakeholders, which is enclosed. This document describes a strategic planning process for research and reporting activities built around the following key dates:
November 11, 2002: Discussion draft of the strategic plan available on the web.
December 3 - 5, 2002: Open workshop held in Washington, DC.
January 8, 2003: End of post-workshop public comment period (for written comments).
April 1, 2003 (approximate): Publication of revised (final) plan.
April 2003 through 2007: Various scheduled dates for publication of findings and related decision support information (as described in the strategic plan).
The U.S. Climate Science Program would like to engage the National Academies in a thorough review of the strategic planning process, with a focus on the following elements:
The discussion draft of the strategic plan, as posted on the www.climatescience.gov web site by November 11, 2002.
The comments and questions received at the workshop on December 3 - 5, 2002.
The comments received on the web site during the 30-day period after the workshop.
The process of publishing a discussion draft strategic plan for comment and discussion by the scientific and stakeholder communities at an open workshop, followed by a written comment period.
We would ask the Academy committee to prepare its comments by February 28, 2003, so that the committee comments can be used as input to the final version of the strategic plan due by April 1, 2003. Also, we note that the 1990 Global Change Research Act requires that the strategic plans of the science program be reviewed by the National Academy. Therefore we suggest that the same Academy committee remain in operation, and report its comments on the final version of the strategic plan after its publication in April 2003.
The Academy would be requested to comment on all of the topic areas listed in the section labeled “Workshop Topics” in the enclosed announcement. Noting that the topics “Scenario Development and Evaluation” and “Decision Support Tool Development” involve technology, cost, economic and energy supply questions, the coverage of the Academy review would include:
Climate and ecosystem science questions.
Human interactions questions.
Control technology issues (a limited set)
Cost and economic analyses
Public communications and education issues
We also request that the Academy comment on additional crosscutting issues in the strategic plan as well as the individual subsections. For example, is there appropriate balance between short and long-term goals, and across substantive research areas? Does the plan adequately describe linkages with the public, private sector, state/local governments, and the international communities? Is the plan’s approach to management of issues that involve multiple disciplines and multiple agencies effectively coordinated and integrated?
We look forward to continuing discussions with representatives of the Academy to review this letter, and to develop a plan for the requested Academy review.
With best regards,
/s/ Jim Mahoney