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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
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NATIONAL FORUM ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GOALS

Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals

Policy Division

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington D.C.
1996

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: This volume was produced as part of a project 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 expert committee were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by the NRC and the Report Review Committee.

The project resulting in this report was supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Research Council.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

National Research Council (U.S.). Policy Division.

Linking science and technology to society’s environmental goals / National Research Council, Policy Division.

p. cm. — (National forum on science and technology goals)

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-05578-4

1. Environmental risk assessment—Social aspects—United States. 2. Environmental policy—United States. 3. Environmental management—Government policy—United States. I. Title. II. Series.

GE150.N38 1996

363.7—dc21 96-47176

CIP

Internet Access: This report is available on the National Academy of Sciences’ Internet host. It may be accessed via World Wide Web at http://www.nas.edu.

Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This document may be reproduced solely for educational purposes without the written permission of the National Academy of Sciences.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

POLICY DIVISION

COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL FORUM ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GOALS: ENVIRONMENT

JOHN F. AHEARNE (Co-chair), Lecturer in Public Policy,

Duke University, and

Director,

Sigma Xi Center

H. GUYFORD STEVER (Co-chair), Science Consultant,

Gaithersburg, Maryland

ALVIN L. ALM,* Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management,

US Department of Energy

JAN E. BEYEA, Consultant,

National Audubon Society

BARBARA L. BENTLEY, Professor,

Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York, Stony Brook

HARVEY BROOKS,** Professor of Technology and Public Issues, Emeritus,

John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

PATRICIA A. BUFFLER, Dean,

School of Health, University of California, Berkeley

JOHN B. CARBERRY, Director,

Environmental Technology, DuPont Research and Development

EMILIO Q. DADDARIO, Former member of Congress,

Washington, D.C.

PERRY L. McCARTY, Silas H. Palmer Professor of Civil Engineering,

Stanford University

RODNEY W. NICHOLS, President and Chief Executive Officer,

New York Academy of Sciences

PAUL R. PORTNEY, President,

Resources for the Future

F. SHERWOOD ROWLAND, Donald Bren Research Professor,

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine

ROBERT M. WHITE, President,

Washington Advisory Group

Principal Project Staff

LAWRENCE E. McCRAY, Director,

Policy Division

DEBORAH D. STINE, Study Director

PATRICK P. SEVCIK, Program Assistant

NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Editor

*  

Dr. Alm resigned from the committee on May 8, 1996, to become Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management at the US Department of Energy

**  

Dr. Brooks was unable to participate in the public forum or in the committee meeting immediately following the forum.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 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. Under the authority of the charter granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a working mandate that calls on it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the NAS.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) was established in 1964, under the charter of the NAS, as a parallel organization of distinguished engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of members, sharing with the NAS its responsibilities for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the NAE.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was established in 1970 by the NAS to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the NAS in its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the IOM.

The National Research Council (NRC) was organized by the NAS in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the NAS and the NAE in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the IOM. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is chairman and Dr. William A. Wulf is interim vice-chairman of the NRC.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

Preface

OBJECTIVES

This study, first in a series of National Forums on Science and Technology Goals, is the first response to a recommendation in a September 1992 report of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government entitled Enabling the Future: Linking Science and Technology to Societal Goals. That report recommended that: "A nongovernmental National Forum on Science and Technology Goals should be established to facilitate the process of defining, debating, focusing, and articulating science and technology goals in the context of federal, national, and international goals, and to monitor the development and implementation of policies to achieve them." As envisioned, the forum would convene persons from industry, academe, nongovernment organizations, and the interested public to explore and seek consensus on long-term science and technology goals as they related to other social objectives and the potential contribution of scientific and engineering advances to societal goals.

PROJECT HISTORY

After extended discussions between the National Research Council and representatives of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, agreement was reached that the National Research Council would conduct two pilot forum studies. A grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York set these experiments in motion. This is the first of those experiments. If an evaluation of this experimental effort and the following one show that the forums are successful, the forums will continue.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

In response to a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the NRC chose environment as the topic for the first forum. A committee was then appointed that had not only broad environmental expertise, but expertise in science and technology policy as well. This selection was also reflected in the co-chairs for the forum. In addition, to maintain a linkage to the original Carnegie Commission report, several members of this committee were also members of the originating Carnegie Commission Committee. A Steering committee then met via conference call to plan the first forum.

FORUM HISTORY

To prepare for the forum and committee meetings, a number of activities were undertaken. Questions were sent to various organizations and persons (the respondents are listed in Appendix E), and 128 replies were received; these are summarized in Appendix D. Part II provides eight commissioned papers on several specific subjects. And, finally, Part III lists the 10 presentations made at the forum by leaders of government agencies. Throughout this document, boxes highlight comments made to the committee.

The centerpiece of the study was the August 20–30, 1995, meeting at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in which a forum activity was joined to a committee meeting. The agenda for the forum is provided in Appendix B. Participants in the forum are listed in Appendix C. Comments and questions after the presentations involved the forum attendees, but the most effective way to involve them was to mix them with committee members in breakout sessions, where more intimate exchanges of views took place. A summary of the breakout sessions is provided in Appendix F.

After the interchange with forum participants, the committee, whose members are listed in Appendix A, met for several days to select and enlarge on a number of the important points to present as results of the forum process. Several principles guided the committee's work. First, the committee was to study the direction of science and technology to be helpful for reaching long-term societal goals 15–25 years in the future. Second, the committee was to depend on the forum results (in oral form and in written form via the call for comments) and the debate within the committee and among the forum participants. This constraint is the principal reason that this report is different from other NRC reports.

SELECTION OF REPORT TOPICS

The diversity of the ideas from so many sources provided the committee with an abundance of input for its deliberations. The committee focused on science and technology topics that it concluded merited increased attention and resources—realizing that this focus might be at the expense of other environmental issues.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

For example, two major global environmental problems have not been addressed in this report. They include climate change and biodiversity. For both of these issues, there are now international treaties that have been signed, goals and plans have been developed, and substantial international research resources are being devoted to them. It was the belief of the committee that these two very important environmental issues were being adequately treated.

We need a definition of environmental goals that people can understand and become passionate about pursuing.

—Forum Participant Comment*

The committee instead chose to concentrate on six critical environmental subjects:

  • Economics and risk assessment.

  • Environmental monitoring and ecology.

  • Chemicals in the environment.

  • The energy system.

  • Industrial ecology.

  • Population.

Almost all have been the subject of continuing science and technology work—some of it substantial—but additional research beyond this is needed if societal goals are to be met.

Other issues raised but considered to be outside the purview of this forum or to have lower priority at this time include the environmental/dimensions of weapons cleanup, human health, international relations, complex systems, agriculture, and transportation.

AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH

This project is the first in what might, if the initial experiment is successful, become a series of projects with the mission of establishing science and technology goals to address major national (and international) problems. The basic concept is to involve a broad group of knowledgeable and concerned people to develop these goals. The process is to include committee surveys, commissioned background papers, and a forum. The NRC would serve as a convener for the forum and establish a group that would distill and synthesize the results.

This experimental forum where the public and the scientific and technological community interact has suggested a number of ways for the science and technology

*  

Throughout this report, boxes present comments received by the committee from forum participants and respondents to the committee's call for comments. These do not necessarily represent the committee's views but are presented here to provide the flavor of the forum process. In accordance with the committee's agreement with the authors, the sources of these quotations are not identified.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

community to focus its activities, but the approach taken was an innovative one that differs from other NRC reports.

A key difference between this report and others that have discussed the issue of the environment, is that this document is not based on an analysis of the literature, empirical analysis of the cost and benefits of various actions, etc., but, as befits its charge, is based on the judgments of the committee after hearing comments in the forum, via the call for comments, and on its own deliberations. It therefore does not refer heavily to the scientific literature or specific information. Instead, our "references" are the comments from the public that are shown in boxes throughout this report. Ideally, of course, the committee would have both published and public "references," but that was not possible in the few days allocated to this activity, nor would it necessarily be better relative to its ''public" objectives.

Several cautions are in order in reading this report:

  • This forum was the first. Later efforts will benefit from the lessons learned from it, and many of the problems evident here can be corrected.

  • The concept envisioned more extensive preparation, which was reduced because of financial limitations, and periodic followup meetings, to reach consensus on the goals developed in the first forum. It has not been decided whether such meetings will be held, but this report should be read as a first draft of the goals. It would be only after several such iterative meetings (probably over 1-2 years) that a true consensus would be reached on a fully developed set of science and technology goals for the environment.

The next step of this activity is to encourage the science and technology community to undertake activities in and discussion of these areas.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The committee acknowledges the invaluable information and opinions received from individuals and organizations who responded to our call for comments and who participated in the forum. The committee would also like to thank those who wrote the papers commissioned by the committee as shown in Part II. Each paper, on its own, is a valuable source of information and guidance.

The project was aided by the invaluable help of its professional staff: Deborah Stine, who directed the project, and Lawrence McCray, who oversaw the project as director of the NRC's Policy Division. Patrick Sevcik ably assisted the project. The report was improved by its diligent editor, Norman Grossblatt.

John F. Ahearne

H. Guyford Stever

Co-Chairs

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

2

 

USE SOCIAL SCIENCE AND RISK ASSESSMENT TO MAKE BETTER SOCIETAL CHOICES

 

27

   

Economic Incentives Versus Command and Control

 

28

   

Analytical Tools: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Risk Assessment

 

31

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations

 

32

3

 

FOCUS ON MONITORING TO BUILD BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

 

37

   

Ecological Knowledge

 

41

   

Monitoring the State of the Environment

 

42

   

Indicators of the State of the Environment

 

44

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations

 

45

4

 

REDUCE THE ADVERSE IMPACTS OF CHEMICALS IN THE ENVIRONMENT

 

51

   

Anthropogenic Chemical Products

 

55

   

Anthropogenic Chemical Byproducts

 

55

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations

 

56

5

 

DEVELOP ENVIRONMENTAL OPTIONS FOR THE ENERGY SYSTEM

 

61

   

The Energy System and Its Environmental Effects

 

62

   

Energy and the Future

 

64

   

Energy Science and Technology Directions

 

65

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations

 

68

6

 

USE A SYSTEMS ENGINEERING AND ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO REDUCE RESOURCE USE

 

73

   

New System Ideas

 

73

   

New Directions

 

76

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations

 

77

7

 

IMPROVE UNDERSTANDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION AS A MEANS TO REDUCING THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF POPULATION GROWTH

 

81

   

Sustainable Development

 

83

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations

 

84

8

 

SET ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS VIA RATES AND DIRECTIONS OF CHANGE

 

87

   

Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendation

 

89

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

91

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
×

PART II: COMMISSIONED PAPERS

 

 

 

 

National Environmental Goals: Implementing the Laws, Visions of the Future, and Research Priorities
Richard D. Morgenstern

 

97

 

 

Measurement of Environmental Quality in the United States
N. Phillip Ross, Carroll Curtis, William Garetz, and Eleanor Leonard

 

135

 

 

Attitudes Toward the Environment Twenty-Five Years After Earth Day
Karlyn Bowman

 

179

 

 

Environmental Goals and Science Policy: A Review of Selected Countries
Konrad von Moltke

 

191

 

 

Can States Make a Market for Environmental Goals?
Richard A. Minard, Jr.

 

243

 

 

Setting Environmental Goals: The View from Industry. A Review of Practices from the 1960s to the Present
John Ehrenfeld and Jennifer Howard

 

281

 

 

Status of Ecological Knowledge Related to Policy Decision-Making Needs in the Area of Biodiversity and Ecosystems in the United States
Walter V. Reid

 

327

 

 

The Federal Budget and Environmental Priorities
Albert H. Teich

 

345

PART III: KEYNOTE ADDRESSES AND PRESENTATIONS

 

 

 

 

Keynote Addresses

 

 

 

 

D. James Baker, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

401

 

 

Thomas Grumbly, U.S. Department of Energy

 

407

 

 

Barry Gold, U.S. Department of the Interior

 

413

 

 

Harlan Watson, House Committee on Science

 

419

 

 

David Garman, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

 

423

 

 

Presentations

 

 

 

 

John Wise and Peter Truitt, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

 

431

 

 

Judith Espinosa and Peggy Duxbury, President's Council on Sustainable Development

 

437

 

 

Gilbert S. Omenn, University of Washington

 

449

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5409.
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Where should the United States focus its long-term efforts to improve the nation's environment? What are the nation's most important environmental issues? What role should science and technology play in addressing these issues? Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals provides the current thinking and answers to these questions.

Based on input from a range of experts and interested individuals, including representatives of industry, government, academia, environmental organizations, and Native American communities, this book urges policymakers to:

  • Use social science and risk assessment to guide decision-making.
  • Monitor environmental changes in a more thorough, consistent, and coordinated manner.
  • Reduce the adverse impact of chemicals on the environment.
  • Move away from the use of fossil fuels.
  • Adopt an environmental approach to engineering that reduces the use of natural resources.
  • Substantially increase our understanding of the relationship between population and consumption.

This book will be of special interest to policymakers in government and industry; environmental scientists, engineers, and advocates; and faculty, students, and researchers.

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