PLANNING CLIMATE AND GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH
A REVIEW OF THE DRAFT U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM STRATEGIC PLAN
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract No. NASW-01008 between the National Academy of Sciences and NASA/USGCRP. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
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COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM STRATEGIC PLAN
THOMAS E. GRAEDEL (Chair),
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
LINDA A. CAPUANO,
Honeywell, Inc., San Jose, California
University of California, Santa Cruz
MARY A. GADE,
Sonnenschein, Nath, and Rosenthal, Chicago, Illinois
KATHARINE L. JACOBS,
Arizona State Department of Water Resources, Tucson
ANTHONY C. JANETOS,
H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, Washington, D.C.
University of California, Santa Barbara and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
DIANA M. LIVERMAN,
University of Arizona, Tucson
JERRY D. MAHLMAN,
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
University of Colorado, Boulder
MICHAEL J. PRATHER,
University of California, Irvine
Washington State University, Pullman
WILLIAM H. SCHLESINGER,
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Michigan State University, East Lansing
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
ROBERT A. WELLER,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
T. STEPHEN WITTRIG,
BP, Naperville, Illinois
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF
GREGORY H. SYMMES, Study Director
AMANDA STAUDT, Program Officer
KRISTEN KRAPF, Program Officer
BYRON MASON, Project Assistant
ELIZABETH GALINIS, Project Assistant
ANN CARLISLE, Administrative Associate
On September 17, 2002, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere James R. Mahoney wrote to Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, to request that the National Academies undertake a fast-track review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s (CCSP’s) draft strategic plan for climate and global change studies. The letter (see Appendix D) asked the National Academies to form a committee to review both the discussion draft of the strategic plan and the final strategic plan after it has been revised. The letter also requested that the National Academies examine the CCSP’s strategic planning process, focusing on the program’s efforts to solicit input from the scientific and stakeholder communities between November 2002 and January 2003. In response the 17-member Committee to Review the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan (see Appendix B for committee biographies) was formed. This report is the committee’s assessment of the discussion draft strategic plan dated November 11, 2002 and addresses phase I of the committee’s statement of task (see Box P-1). A second report by this committee will review the final strategic plan after it has been released, addressing phase II of the committee’s task (see Appendix E).
A challenging aspect of the committee’s work has been to come to a clear understanding and agreement about the intended scope of the CCSP; that is, does the program focus exclusively on issues of “climate change”—as one might infer from the name of the Climate Change Science Program itself and its constituent, the Climate Change Research Initiative—or does it encompass all, or some, other global changes—as one might infer from the name of the CCSP’s other constituent, the U.S. Global Change Research Program? While climate change has clearly been the major focus of past work by the GCRP and current work of the CCSP, the answer to this question has implications for the program’s future. Specifically, it will determine which research areas belong in the program and, accordingly, the level of resources needed. In terms of the committee’s work the answer to this question has a profound effect on how the committee responds to its task statement, in particular, to the question, “Is the plan responsive to the nation's needs for information on climate change and global change, their potential implications, and comparisons of the potential effects of different response options?”
The natural place to look for insights on this question was the draft strategic plan itself, which clearly indicates that the program is not designed to focus exclusively on climate change issues. For example, the title of the introductory chapter is “Climate and Global Change: Improving Connections Between Science and Society,” and two of the five “climate and global change issues” to be informed by the program explicitly mention global changes other than climate change.1 What is not clear in the draft plan is whether the program is designed to address all or some subset of issues pertaining to global change. As discussed in Chapter 2 of this report, part of the problem is that the draft strategic plan does not present a clear, concise statement of vision for the program.
Without that clear vision the committee developed its own working understanding of the intended scope of the CCSP. The committee believes that it will be important for the CCSP to consider those processes (1) that interact with climate change to produce significant impacts of societal relevance and therefore must be integrated into research to understand impacts and to develop adaptation and mitigation approaches, and (2) that have large feedbacks to climate change. In this report the committee uses the term “climate and associated global changes” as a general term encompassing those global changes included in the two categories above.
The CCSP will need to consider whether these or other criteria will determine the program’s coverage of various global change processes. This is important from a planning perspective because the number of factors identified for CCSP’s attention is likely to grow as the program’s work
with decision makers expands. Many decision makers deal with climate change as only one of a suite of factors affecting the people, economy, and ecosystems of an area. Not all of these factors will necessarily be appropriate for the CCSP’s attention. An obvious tradeoff will be between depth and breadth, and the risk is a program spread so thin that it fails to make meaningful progress in core research areas. The CCSP’s decisions about scope will have important implications for the portfolio of research to be funded initially, and for how this portfolio evolves over the program’s lifetime.
The committee was asked to review the draft strategic plan by focusing on nine questions (see Box P-1). Five of the first six questions, which apply to the draft strategic plan as a whole, are addressed in Part I of this report. The last three questions, which apply to each major section of the plan, are addressed in Part II of this report.
The third question in the statement of task (“Is there an appropriate balance (1) between short-term (2-5 years) and longer-term goals, (2) among substantive research areas, and (3) between research and nonresearch activities, such as observations, modeling, and communicating results?”) is not addressed explicitly in this report. One way to assess these elements of balance would be through budget data accompanied by cost estimates for the underpinnings of individual research components (e.g., supercomputers, satellite instruments, socio-economic surveys) and categorized as in the task statement (e.g., short-term versus longer-term, research versus nonresearch). The draft strategic plan does not include such data, nor was it possible for the committee or the CCSP to generate it in the time available. Even if available, these data would reflect only the current balance of the program and not the future directions outlined in the draft plan (e.g., whether new activities, such as those in decision support, applied climate modeling, and land-use and land-cover change, will be supported through new funding or by redirecting funds currently devoted to other research areas). The fiscal year 2004 budget request for the CCSP provides some insights into the CCSP’s plans for the program, but it also was not available in time for detailed analysis at the time this report was written. Another way to assess issues of balance would be from clearly stated program goals and priorities, which are not well articulated in the draft. Therefore, the committee was not able to evaluate the balance of the plan in a detailed way. Chapter 3 of this report provides some insights on balance issues by identifying elements of the draft plan that are appropriate short-term and longer-term objectives, and by pointing out areas needing additional research. The committee will address the balance question in its second report, when the draft has been revised and relevant budget data are available.
This report is not the only mechanism through which the CCSP has received input on the draft strategic plan. On December 3-5, 2002, the CCSP held a major workshop in Washington, D.C., to obtain input from scientific and other stakeholder communities. The workshop was attended by over 1000 scientists, agency representatives, and other stakeholders who participated in breakout sessions focused generally on the strategic plan chapters and selected crosscutting themes (see <http://www.climatescience.gov/events/workshop2002/>). In the second phase of this study the committee will assess the effectiveness of this workshop as a mechanism for gathering scientists’ and other stakeholder’s comments on the draft plan, as directed in the statement of task. The CCSP also provided a mechanism for interested parties to submit written comments on the draft strategic plan. The committee was able to examine comments received by the CCSP before its last meeting on January 8-10, 2003, and this report is written in light of those viewpoints.
The committee held three meetings to gather information and prepare this report. The first meeting was held on November 22, 2002, in Washington, D.C. At this meeting James R. Mahoney and Richard Moss, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, presented an overview of the draft strategic plan and the strategic planning process. Representatives from participating departments and agencies also discussed with the committee their agency’s strategic planning process and how their agency’s research relates to the CCSP program. We thank the following individuals who participated in this meeting: James R. Mahoney, U.S. Climate Change Science Program; Richard Moss, U.S. Global Change Research Program; Mary Glackin, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Jack Kaye, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Jerry Elwood, Department of Energy; Ari Patrinos, Department of Energy; Michael Slimak, Environmental Protection Agency; Steve Shafer, Department of Agriculture; Daniel Reifsnyder, Department of State; Harlan Watson, Department of State; Martha Garcia, U.S. Geological Survey; James Andrews, Office of Naval Research; Karrigan Bork, Department of Transportation.
Members of the committee attended the CCSP planning workshop on December 3-5, 2002, and then held a second meeting in Washington, D.C., on December 6, 2002. At this meeting the committee discussed the CCSP workshop and began to develop this report. In addition Robert Marlay, director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Technology Policy Analysis, briefed the committee on the Climate Change Technology Program. The committee’s third meeting was held on January 8-10, 2003, during which the committee prepared this report.
The committee called upon a number of National Academies boards and standing committees with expertise in issues of climate and global change. In the short period of time available these boards and standing committees and their staffs produced very thoughtful summaries of the strengths and weaknesses of the draft strategic plan. The committee acknowledges the efforts of the following individuals who took the lead in preparing the materials on
behalf of these units:
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate: Eric Barron, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and Amanda Staudt, National Research Council (NRC) staff;
Ocean Studies Board: Jay McCreary, University of Hawaii, Manoa, and Morgan Gopnik, NRC staff;
Polar Research Board: Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and Chris Elfring, NRC staff;
Climate Research Committee: Tony Busalacchi, University of Maryland, College Park, and Amanda Staudt, NRC staff;
Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change: Tom Dietz, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, Tom Wilbanks, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, and Paul Stern, NRC staff; and
Committee on Earth Studies: Michael Freilich, Oregon State University, Corvallis, and Arthur Charo, NRC staff.
The committee also received comments on the draft plan from several members of the Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data and its staff director, Anne Linn. The contributions from these boards and committees were extremely useful in informing the committee’s deliberations. Though these individuals provided many useful insights and suggestions, many of which are reflected in the report, they did not participate in the committee’s closed session discussions and are not responsible for the final content of this report.
This study differs from most National Academies studies in three respects. First, the timeline for this first report was limited—approximately three months from the committee’s first meeting to the deadline for delivery of this report. This timeline was driven by the CCSP’s ambitious push to publish a final plan by the end of April 2003. Second, the committee was asked to review both a preliminary draft of the strategic plan and the final strategic plan, enabling the committee to provide advice at a stage in the strategic planning process when it could be most useful. Third, as discussed above, the CCSP convened a major workshop and solicited public comments on the draft plan while the study was underway. As a result, a number of the issues raised in this report have already been brought to the attention of CCSP leadership and recognized by them (see <http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/workshop2002/closingsession>).
The committee gratefully acknowledges the NRC staff who worked hard to facilitate its deliberations and the preparation of this report. Gregory Symmes and Amanda Staudt made major contributions to the report, at considerable personal sacrifice. Kristen Krapf was instrumental in coordinating input to the report from the committee and the NRC boards and committees. Byron Mason and Elizabeth Galinis were an extremely effective team in ensuring that the committee’s meetings and report production went smoothly.
The committee has worked diligently to make this report as useful as possible to the CCSP. We wish the CCSP leadership well as it takes on the challenging task of revising the draft strategic plan to enhance the usefulness of the program to the decision makers who need to better understand the potential impacts of climate change and make choices among possible responses. In the opinion of many of the committee members the issues addressed by the CCSP are among the most crucial of those facing humankind in the twenty-first century.
Thomas E. Graedel, Chair
An ad hoc committee will conduct an independent review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program's strategic plan for global change and climate change studies, giving attention also to the program's strategic planning process. This review will be carried out in two phases.
In the first phase, the committee will review the discussion draft of the plan. The review will address the following questions about the draft plan as a whole:
The review also will address the following questions for each of the plan's major topical areas:
In its review, the committee will consider the scientific and stakeholder community comments at the U.S. Climate Change Science Program's workshop and other comments received by the program during the public comment period. If time permits, the committee also will comment on any significant process issues related to the workshop that could affect how the program revises the draft plan. The results of phase I will be provided in a report to be delivered no later than February 28, 2003.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
James Anderson, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
D. James Baker, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Roberta Balstad Miller, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
Christopher B. Field, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, California
Inez Fung, University of California, Berkeley
Gregory Greenwood, California Resources Agency, Sacramento
George M. Hornberger, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Henry D. Jacoby, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
Charles F. Kennel, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
Richard S. Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
Susanne C. Moser, Union of Concerned Scientists Cambridge, Massachusetts
Edward A. Parson, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
W. Richard Peltier, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Steven W. Running, University of Montana, Missoula
Edward S. Sarachik, University of Washington, Seattle
Christine S. Sloane, General Motors Corporation, Warren, Michigan
Susan Solomon, NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
B.L. Turner, II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts
Robert M. White, Washington Advisory Group, Washington, D.C.
Oran R. Young, University of California, Santa Barbara
Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Richard M. Goody (Harvard University) and Robert A. Frosch (Harvard University). Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.