officials. If the CCSP’s outreach endeavors are to be successful, it is important for federal agencies to work closely with regional and state climate institutions that can directly help educate and interact with state government, the private sector, and the general public. Indeed, some mission agencies (e.g., those under the Department of the Interior) already have state and local officers addressing climate issues, but these agencies do not yet participate in the CCSP (see Chapter 4 of this report).
The plan’s treatment of the private sector is also limited. Many sectors of the U.S. economy stand to be affected seriously or even restructured by policies employed to respond to climate change. Others can benefit greatly from improved climate information (e.g., from seasonal to interannual forecasts) and from new opportunities in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change (e.g., through developing new climate mitigation technologies). In addition, commercial development and implementation of most of the technology to address climate change will be carried out by the business community. Yet the plan barely mentions the private sector and when it does, its role is solely as a passive recipient of information generated by the program (e.g., CCSP, 2002, p. 151). Government decisions based on information to be provided by the CCSP are likely to be more successful if the private sector is engaged throughout the research and planning process.
Although the text in places recognizes the importance of engaging stakeholders in the preparation and review of long-term strategic plans, the plan needs to state explicitly that stakeholders should be included where appropriate throughout the research planning, execution, and results review process. Furthermore, the draft plan does not capitalize on the NRC report Making Climate Forecasts Matter (NRC, 1999c), which includes recommendations for using the decision sciences to communicate climate issues to stakeholders and other interested parties. Without employing two-way and deliberative communication the plan presents an outmoded and unsuccessful model of stakeholder engagement and public involvement.
Recommendation: The revised strategic plan should identify which categories of decision makers the CCSP serves and describe how the program will improve two-way communication with them.
The committee believes that the draft plan misses an opportunity to develop a forward-looking strategy for improving international research networks and assessments. These concepts are mentioned in Chapter 14 of the draft plan, but not in a strategic way. The value of multi-national research networks has been demonstrated in several ongoing agency programs and in international organizations. For example, research conducted under the GCRP during the last 10 years has demonstrated considerable science leadership in international global change programs, particularly the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Program on Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IHDP), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The issue for the CCSP is how to leverage the many governmental and nongovernmental organizations to develop capacity and ongoing regional networks of international scientists collaborating with U.S. scientists. Without a defined strategy it is unlikely that the full benefits of such approaches will be achieved.
International collaboration is needed for building better in situ calibration and validation of observations, for obtaining more globally distributed measurements, and for building synergy and reducing redundancy in the deployment of observation assets. The meteorological community offers a good example of international collaboration, with assignment of responsibilities for making measurements and data-sharing protocols arranged at an intergovernmental level under the World Meteorological Organization. The climate community lacks a similar structure. The U.S. climate community has not even identified which agency serves as the central contact for international partners on climate research issues, including coordinated observing arrays, intercalibration, capacity building, and data and product sharing.
Most of the world community recognizes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approach to involving governments directly in the scientific assessments has been a success. It has acted to denationalize scientific knowledge, an objective that individual national assessments cannot always meet. The value of international assessments over national assessments lies in three factors: (1) by engaging a majority of the world’s experts on the relevant scientific questions, such assessments can attain higher scientific quality and are better able to withstand partisan attacks; (2) national assessments risk the perception or actuality of being subordinated to national policy priorities; and (3) by rendering competing parallel assessments scientifically superfluous, well done international assessments control the risk that minor or unintentional disparities in coverage, emphasis, or tone between parallel national assessments are exploited to exaggerate scientific disagreement in policy negotiations. The CCSP should acknowledge such successes in science-policy interactions in its revised strategic plan.
The overall sense of insularity of the plan itself may hinder efforts to improve linkages with the international community. In particular, portions of the draft plan focus so strongly on decision support in the United States, on land cover in the United States, on the carbon cycle in the United States, and so forth that it is not at all clear what the balance may be between focusing on the United States itself and sponsoring research that is relevant to the rest of the world.