U.S. National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation supports climate-related research, not through any central priority setting, but through its usual researcher-driven peer review process. Numerous research funding opportunities exist in disparate programs.


The public and decision makers have become aware that responses to climate change are of utmost urgency. They want to know what they can do now. Even without this new pressure, policy makers operate on shorter decision horizons than researchers do. Few think farther ahead than 8 years at most. Nonetheless, the research community is now laying out longer-term agendas and needs.

Pragmatically, researchers can accommodate this discrepancy by offering short-term messages. That doesn’t mean abandoning longer-term analysis and planning; rather, it means interacting with the public on practical and effective terms. Yet climate is an unprecedented policy challenge and will require public institutions to change the way they do business.

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