FIGURE 1 Global mean radiative forcing of the climate system for the year 2000, relative to 1750. Source: Working Group I, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001).

and chlorofluorocarbon use, biomass burning, and paddy rice and cattle production, in this picture.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has identified the global carbon cycle as a major program element, allocating $221 million of its $1.6 billion budget for 2002 to it (Subcommittee on Global Change Research, 2001). An interagency Carbon Cycle Working Group, advised by an outside scientific steering committee and guided by a Carbon Cycle Science Plan (CCSP, Sarmiento and Wofsy, 1999) sets research directions for this effort. The CCSP and the scientific steering committee strongly reflect the intellectual concerns of fields of natural science that study the cycling of carbon through the atmosphere and the biosphere. Although the CCSP notes the critical role of human activities in perturbing the carbon cycle, it does not include any research on these activities. The U.S. government’s carbon cycle research activity has not yet integrated the relevant fields of the social and behavioral sciences.

It is in this context that the USGCRP’s Carbon Cycle Working Group asked the National Research Council’s Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change to hold a workshop on Human Interactions with

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