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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change Appendix D Fundamental Research Priorities to Improve the Understanding of Human Dimensions of Climate Change Paul C. Stern, National Research Council Thomas J. Wilbanks, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Note: The committee commissioned the following discussion paper from the staff and chair of the National Research Council Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change. Their views, as expressed below, may not always reflect the views of their committee, the Committee on Strategic Advice on the U.S. Climate Change Research Program, or vice versa. INTRODUCTION The Assignment At the request of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), the National Research Council (NRC) has established a Committee on Strategic Advice on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, charged with two tasks. Task 1 was to evaluate progress of the CCSP, and that report was completed in 2007 (NRC, 2007a). Task 2 is to provide advice to CCSP on future re-
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change search priorities, and the key step in this process will be a national workshop on “discovery science” in March 2008. One of the key findings of the Task 1 preliminary assessment was that “our understanding of the impact of climate changes on human well-being and vulnerabilities … is much less developed than our understanding of the natural climate system,” a conclusion that echoed findings of the earlier NRC review of the CCSP Draft Strategic Plan (NRC, 2004). For the March workshop, the Committee on Strategic Advice on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program commissioned two discussion papers on research priorities for climate change science. At least partly reflecting the finding from its first report, one of the papers is focused on underlying research priorities for human systems science, including the social sciences. The other is an equivalent summary of priorities related to the natural sciences. As initially articulated by Strategic Advice committee member Charles Kolstad, the assignment was to prepare a “paper on social science priorities” as an input to the workshop, identifying up to 10 top priorities and considering ways to increase the engagement of core disciplines as well as multidisciplinary researchers. Thus defined, the priorities were to be focused on relatively basic research rather than applied research. For the assignment, the Committee on Strategic Advice to the U.S. Climate Change Science Program enlisted the assistance of members of the NRC Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change (CHDGC), who discussed the assignment in detail at the November 2007 CHDGC meeting. The result was a draft paper—an informal communication from the staff director of CHDGC. The draft was discussed at the January meeting of the Strategic Advice committee, which asked that its scope be expanded to add an additional set of research priorities lying closer to the interests of mission agencies in the CCSP and comments on some implementation issues. This paper is the result.
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change The Terminology Following the usual practice of CHDGC reports, this paper uses the terms fundamental research and human dimensions rather than basic research and social science: Fundamental Research In conventional usage, basic research is motivated by intellectual curiosity and undertaken for the “pure” pursuit of knowledge, not for social aims. Most of the basic research in the social and behavioral sciences is not motivated by climate concerns, and much of it has no obvious climate applications. Much the same may be true of basic research in chemistry or physics. A different kind of discovery science, equally concerned with advancing knowledge, derives its priorities from social needs and related programs (i.e., “purposive basic research”) and has been termed “fundamental” research (Shapley and Roy, 1985). The two kinds of research are virtually identical in how they proceed; where they differ is how research questions are developed. We believe that research advice to CCSP is more appropriately considered the latter. Human Dimensions Research Throughout its 19-year history, in its attention to climate change as a special case of global environmental change, the CHDGC has been concerned with human systems drivers of climate change, human systems impacts of climate change, and human systems responses to concerns about or observed effects of climate change. These topics are grounded in the social, economic, and behavioral sciences but are not limited to these sciences. For example, driving forces include technologies, and so understanding them requires engineering expertise. Impacts include effects on human health, food, and energy systems, and understanding the processes producing such impacts requires knowledge and expertise beyond the social sciences alone. From the inception of the CHDGC (see NRC, 1992), its reports, which reflect the views of many human dimensions researchers, have identified research pri-
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change orities for human dimensions of climate change and other kinds of global environmental change in terms of the ends of knowledge—what it is that requires understanding—rather than in terms of an arbitrarily constrained set of academic or disciplinary means for reaching the ends. In this paper, we have adopted an integrative approach rather than a disciplinary approach, as in past NRC reports. Human Dimensions as a Distinct Interdisciplinary Field Many scientists who conduct fundamental research on human–environment interactions conceive of the area as a distinct interdisciplinary field or even a distinct discipline. Various names have been proposed for this field, including human ecology, human–environment science (Stern, 1993), and more recently sustainability science (NRC, 1999d) and coupled human and natural systems (e.g., Liu et al., 2007a, b). The pathbreaking NRC report, Our Common Journey (NRC, 1999d), has led to such significant steps as the establishment of a new membership section in the National Academy of Sciences and the creation of a new section in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The editors of PNAS are actively promoting research in sustainability science and refer to it in the journal as a discipline. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently established a multidirectorate program on The Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems to support “quantitative, interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales.”1 A “Road Map” to This Paper The paper is in four parts. It first considers the broader historical context within which priorities have been identified in the past and are identified here. Second, it identifies five substantive priorities for fundamental research and three crosscutting fundamental research issues, discusses criteria used to identify the priorities, and identifies the benefits that can result from the research. Third, 1 http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2006/nsf06587/nsf06587.htm.
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change it identifies climate change research priorities focused on human dimensions that are somewhat less fundamental or more action oriented, and shows some of the linkages between fundamental research and these priorities. Fourth, it identifies critical constraints on progress with these research topics, including but not limited to issues in relating to core disciplines, and offers some possible implementation strategies for overcoming these constraints. THE CONTEXT FOR PRIORITY SETTING There is a relatively rich history of efforts to set priorities for research on the human dimensions of climate change. These efforts provide a strong basis for identifying priorities, and this paper builds on that work. However, the history of responses to past priority-setting exercises shows that careful priority setting alone has made little difference, either in the behavior of agencies that might fund the recommended research or in attracting increased interest from several of the core disciplines in the behavioral and social sciences. These observations suggest that getting research supported and done requires more than identifying priorities. This issue is discussed below under “Critical Constraints.” History of Priority-Related Discussions For almost two decades, committees and panels of the NRC have considered priorities for research on the human dimensions of global environmental change and/or global sustainability. Multiple major studies have helped to provide intellectual foundations for the field, and many others identify research priorities for all or part of the field. Each of these studies involved the participation of large numbers of professionals and stakeholders and produced reports that were extensively reviewed by peers. Many of them also included workshops to engage a larger community than the committee membership alone. The research recommendations from these studies provide a valuable base for this paper. An incomplete listing of these studies follows.
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change Publications primarily developing the intellectual basis for progress include: The Drama of the Commons (NRC, 2002c) summarized knowledge on major questions about the design and operation of institutions for managing common-pool resources band set research directions for the future. New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures (NRC, 2002b) summarized available knowledge and examined the potential for these measures as supplements to regulatory and economic policy instruments. Making Climate Forecasts Matter (NRC, 1999b) developed a conceptual base and identified key scientific questions for analyzing the human consequences of seasonal-to-interannual climate variations (e.g., El Niño) and learning how make improved climate forecasting skill more useful. Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability (NRC, 1999d) drew on nearly 375 earlier NRC reports and many other sources to develop a conceptual framework and a set of research priorities for sustainability science. People and Pixels: Linking Remote Sensing and Social Science (NRC, 1998) identified and discussed opportunities for using remotely sensed data in research on human–environment interactions and in social science, presented examples, and developed a Web-based guide to information resources. Environmentally Significant Consumption: Research Directions (NRC, 1997) conceptualized the link between consumption and environment and identified and illustrated promising research possibilities on the causes of environmentally significant consumption. Publications primarily identifying research directions include: Decision Making for the Environment (NRC, 2005a) identified five areas of high-priority research that can contribute to improved decisions affecting environmental quality. Population, Land Use, and Environment: Research Directions (NRC, 2005b) reviewed knowledge on interactions between demo-
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change graphic and environmental changes mediated by land use and recommended research directions in this area. Implementing Climate and Global Change Research (NRC, 2004) reviewed the strategic plan of the CCSP and identified areas needing additional research investment, including human dimensions, economics, adaptation, and mitigation. Human Interactions with the Carbon Cycle: Summary of a Workshop (NRC, 2002a) reported on discussions of promising research issues linking social science and natural science analyses of the carbon cycle. Grand Challenges in Environmental Sciences (NRC, 2001) identified eight major scientific challenges, three of which prominently featured human systems. Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade (NRC, 1999a) presented a state-of-the-field review and set of research imperatives. Research Needs and Modes of Support for the Human Dimensions of Global Change (NRC, 1994a) recommended that NSF support a collection of centers and research teams. Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change (NRC, 1994b) advised NSF on the creation of a policy science program to deal with global change issues. Global Environmental Change: Understanding the Human Dimensions (NRC, 1992) helped define human dimensions research as a coherent intellectual enterprise and recommended a plan for national research in the area. Since the publication of Our Common Journey (NRC, 1999d), further statements of the fundamental research needs and priorities in sustainability science have continued to appear (e.g., Kates et al., 2001; Clark and Dickson, 2003). Members of the NRC Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability and the Forum on Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development2 have been among the sources of research priorities (see also Swart et al., 2002, on critical challenges for sustainability science, and a special issue of PNAS, July 8, 2003, on science in support of sustainability). 2 http://sustainabilityscience.org.
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change History of Connections with Core Social Science Disciplines Challenges in connecting human–environmental research with core disciplines in the behavioral and social sciences have been an ongoing issue for CHDGC throughout its history, reflected in both committee member appointments and in meeting agendas. For instance, most recently in cooperation with the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate of the NSF, the CHDGC held a half-day symposium on April 25, 2007, on linking environmental research and the behavioral and social sciences. The initial question posed to symposium participants was: What are the core theoretical issues that would motivate social, behavioral, and economic research on environmental topics, resulting in improved understanding of environmental phenomena as well as contributions to the core social science fields? The symposium included committee members and staff, participants from federal agencies, and speakers with ties to six different social and behavioral science disciplines who spoke about developments in those disciplines: political science, sociology, economics, psychology, anthropology, and geography. An underlying question from NSF was why so few social scientists submit proposals to cross-disciplinary programs related to human aspects of environmental issues. Particular problems are perceived in several social and behavioral science disciplines in which academic reward systems emphasize contributions to established core subfields or theoretical debates rather than to fundamental understanding of societal problems. Disciplinary contributors noted significant obstacles in sociology, psychology, and political science and a split between “ecological” and “environmental” economics; environment is closer to the disciplinary core in anthropology and geography. In general, the discussion suggested that involvement by disciplinary social and behavioral scientists can be affected by the agendas and review practices of agencies such as NSF that provide major research support, especially to early-career scientists for whom an NSF grant can be an important career building block. NSF funding criteria and practices, including the composition of panels that review proposals, can help turn early-career scientists toward a focus either on established “core” disciplinary questions or on fundamental cross-disciplinary questions.
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change History of Interest Among CCSP Mission Agencies Historically, except for NSF and a few other isolated programs (e.g., in the health sciences), CCSP agencies have not considered investments in fundamental human systems/human dimensions research to be a part of their mission. NSF has supported such research, though usually within broader programs (e.g., decision making under uncertainty and human and social dynamics) in which climate-related research competes with other research that is not motivated by the problems of climate change. In the other CCSP agencies, research that draws on the social sciences is mainly addressed to fairly narrow applications of science to problem solving in such mission-defined fields as environmental regulation, coastal and water resource management, agricultural and forest resource management, and energy supply and use. These programs make use of human dimensions research knowledge and tools, such as environmental economics, but they seldom invest in improving the fundamental knowledge on which such applications stand. In fact, in most cases, the more fundamental a human dimensions research question sounds, the less likely it has been to attract interest from a CCSP agency other than NSF. In the federal environmental and energy mission agencies, none has more than limited expertise in a few fields of social science. Consequently, even if such agencies were to decide to support fundamental research on the human dimensions of issues within their purview, it would take them time to develop the staff expertise to set priorities, solicit research, set up review panels, and make full use of research results. This situation raises questions about the likelihood that the fundamental research priorities identified below will be considered relevant to CCSP agencies and program managers or, if they are considered relevant, whether they would be developed effectively. This issue is discussed in greater detail in the last section of this paper.
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN DIMENSIONS RESEARCH PRIORITIES This section identifies five top substantive research priorities for fundamental research on human dimensions of climate change and three critical crosscutting research priorities. It then discusses how they were arrived at and likely benefits of investments in research on them. Substantive Research Priorities Improving the understanding of environmentally significant consumption. For a decade or more, the human dimensions/sustainability science communities have been saying that the single biggest weakness in the knowledge base underlying responses to climate change is a lack of understanding about human consumption linked to resource use (e.g., NRC, 1997, 1999a, 2005a; Kates, 2000). Research on environmental consumption aims to illuminate a fundamental human driver of climate change and to build understanding needed for effective mitigation responses. Part of the research agenda concerns understanding individual- and household-level behavior (e.g., what motivates consumption; links among economic consumption, resource consumption, and human well-being, including the potential to satisfy basic needs and other demands with significantly less resource consumption; and the responsiveness of consumption behavior to efforts to change it through information, persuasion, incentives, and regulations). Another part of the research agenda concerns decisions in business organizations that affect environmental resource consumption, whether by the organizations themselves, by marketing to ultimate consumers, or through the structure of product and service chains. Improving fundamental understanding of risk-related judgment and decision making under uncertainty. Human response to climate change depends fundamentally on judgment and decision making under uncertainty, and improved fundamental understanding of these processes continues to be central to the human dimensions research agenda (e.g., NRC, 1992, 1999a, 2005a). Anticipating or guiding human systems responses to both per-
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change ceived risks and opportunities related to climate change and its experienced and expected impacts requires a sophisticated understanding of how people and organizations comprehend incomplete and uncertain scientific information and incorporate, ignore, or reinterpret it in decision making. The argument recently offered that advances in climate science are inherently incapable of doing much to improve the predictability of the probability of large temperature changes (Roe and Baker, 2007) helps to underline the need for increased scientific attention to understanding and improving human capacity to make wise decisions under significant and continuing uncertainty. The research agenda includes both attention to individual cognition and to risk judgments and decision making in groups, organizations, and social institutions. Improving the understanding of how social institutions affect resource use. This topic was identified as one of eight grand challenges in environmental science (NRC, 2001) and has been repeatedly identified as a top-priority area of human dimensions research (e.g., NRC, 1999a; 2005a). The challenge is to understand how human use of natural resources is shaped by “markets, governments, international treaties, and formal and informal sets of institutions that are established to govern resource extraction, waste disposal, and other environmentally important activities” (NRC, 2001:4). Institutions create contexts and rules that shape the human activities that drive climate change and that shape the realistic possibilities for mitigation and adaptation. The research agenda includes documenting the institutions shaping these activities from local to global levels, understanding the conditions under which the institutions can effectively advance mitigation and adaptation goals, and improving the understanding of conditions for institutional innovation and change. This area has a long history in human dimensions research (see NRC, 2002c), and a relatively good scientific infrastructure, but the research questions still require considerably expanded efforts. For example, as noted in a recent special section of PNAS (Ostrom et al., 2007), many policy analysts still believe, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, that global environmental problems can be solved by a single governance system such as privatization, government control, or community control. Fundamental research on resource institutions
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change TABLE D.1 Relationship Between Fundamental Research Priorities and Focused Research Needs Fundamental Research Priorities Action-Oriented Human Dimensions Research Priorities Vulnerability Scenarios Mitigation Potentials Adaptation Potentials Integrating Mitigation and Adaptation Effective Decision Support Responses Across Scales Consumption X X X X X Risk-related decision making X X X X X How social institutions affect resource use X X X X X Socioeconomic changes as contexts for impacts and responses X X X X X Valuation of consequences and responses X X X X X Observations, indicators, and metrics Nonlinearities, feedbacks, and thresholds in a multicausal setting X X X X Scale dependence and interactions X X X X X
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change Given increasing demand in recent years for human dimensions knowledge to inform responses to climate change, we believe that a level of support beyond 5 percent of the total program could be justified today. Determining how much of an increase can be effectively absorbed by the research community, and how fast, will require more careful analysis of capabilities than is possible with available information. Because of the longstanding underfunding of human dimensions research, we do not think that expanded development of the above priority areas can be achieved by reallocating funds from other areas of human dimensions research that are already well developed. If funding for climate change research continues to be flat, we think these priorities can only be developed by reallocating funds from well-developed areas of natural systems research. The needed reallocation may be small, however, because human systems research is typically far less expensive than natural systems research. Data needs and limitations. As mentioned previously, the shortage of human systems data in forms useful for analysis of human dimensions issues has been discussed in a number of NRC reports (e.g., NRC, 1992, 1999a, 2005a). There is a particular need for time-series data regarding human pressures on the global environment, such as data on land cover and land use, extraction of natural resources from ecosystems, energy consumption and pollutant emissions from various sources and sectors, human attitudes, valuations, and responses. There is a similar need for data on human consequences of and responses to global environmental change, such as morbidity and mortality data related to air and water quality and vulnerabilities to climate-related extreme events. A major constraint on progress in modeling and understanding human–climate interactions is the lack of reliable, linked databases tracking human activities and the natural systems they change and that in turn affect them. The NRC recommended in 1992 that the first steps include efforts to identify major data needs, inventory available datasets from public and private sources, and assess what would be needed to (a) link existing human and environmental datasets and (b) fill critical gaps in existing data bases. At that time, it recommended that an extra $2 million to $4 million per
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change year be devoted to data acquisition and dissemination. Subsequent NRC reports (NRC, 1999c, 2005a) have expanded on these recommendations to identify types of indicators that should be developed to improve understanding of human interactions with the global environment. The most recent NRC review of the CCSP (NRC, 2007a:79) noted an institutional difficulty related to the data needs: “[T]he need to collect social, economic, and health data to address the human dimensions aspects of the program adds an additional level of complexity because these data are outside the purview of agencies traditionally associated with climate measurements.” We do not think it is an exaggeration to say that in most of the CCSP agencies, the concept of observations does not include observations of human activities or human conditions. A comprehensive approach to addressing the data constraint would be a major effort to develop linked data on social and environmental phenomena in time series, across space, and at multiple analytical levels. A human dimensions observational system would complement the natural science observational systems that are so central to the CCSP. Such an effort, in addition to its value for research, could provide new opportunities for social science research that would attract early-career and established researchers from the disciplines into global change research and thus expand the pool of strong researchers in the area. This approach also could help encourage agencies to support fundamental human dimensions research by demonstrating the mission relevance of research using social science concepts and variables. Connections with the basic social and behavioral sciences. As already noted, fundamental human dimensions research pursues questions driven by concerns with problems of climate change rather than issues arising from the social science disciplines. There are connections between the two, but they are not always obvious to researchers in the disciplines. Moreover, the relevance of disciplinary concepts to climate problems does not always seem the same from a disciplinary standpoint as from a climate problem perspective. For example, household energy consumption is an important contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, but understanding it requires concepts from multiple disciplines. Efforts to explain it only in terms of environmental attitudes (psychology), social position
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change (sociology), or household income (economics) are likely to seem naïve or seriously incomplete to scientists who take a broader view of the climate problem. The problem of linking the disciplines to climate questions is in part one of developing theory and method. Issues such as environmental consumption, land-use change, and valuation of environmental resources, among others, do not yield easily to discipline-specific concepts, theories, or methods. Arguably, multidisciplinary approaches are more likely to yield useful tools for answering questions about human–climate interactions. The roles of disciplinary tools must be worked out over time in research teams and the wider community. Without sufficient support for such teams to work together over time, progress will be restrained. The problem is also one of human resource development. Scientists with a strong social science disciplinary background have a learning curve to traverse before they can make serious contributions to understanding the climate problem. In our view, so far the CCSP as a program has not made efforts to speed this learning, for example, by supporting interdisciplinary graduate training programs in climate science that encourage social scientists to apply. More could be done to draw social scientists to climate change research, particularly at the predoctoral and early career stages, as noted in past NRC reviews. The 1992 NRC review devoted a chapter to human resource and organization issues and offered several recommendations for addressing the problem, including the creation of a transportable 5-year package of dissertation, postdoctoral, and research support. This idea was echoed in a proposal voiced at the CHDGC’s 2007 workshop on linking environmental research and the social and behavioral sciences. The idea would be to facilitate career advancement for social scientists working in a field outside the core of their disciplines, which could help build the community of researchers and might strengthen interdisciplinary institutions working on climate change. As the most recent NRC (2007a:92) review noted, “The natural sciences may offer a successful model for building human dimensions capacity, especially programs to move young investigators into the arena and to support postdocs.” Organizational barriers in the federal government. The 1992 NRC review concluded that there was “an almost complete
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change mismatch between the roster of agencies that support research on global change and the roster of agencies with strong capabilities in social science” (NRC, 1992:10). As already noted, NSF is essentially the only CCSP agency in which fundamental research in the human systems sciences is considered part of the agency’s mission. Climate change, however, is not central to the NSF mission. CCSP agencies with climate missions seem ready to recognize fundamental natural systems research related to climate change as falling within their missions, but much less ready to accord the same recognition to human systems research. Some of these agencies support human dimensions research in particular applied areas, some of it quite valuable to the CCSP, but in our view these efforts have done little to build the kinds of fundamental knowledge prioritized earlier in this paper. The CCSP and its agencies could show leadership in addressing this challenge by supporting fundamental research on the human-system components of climate change. The 1992 study proposed that federal agencies that support basic natural science research on global change, but only applied social science, expand their support to include fundamental social science research related to specific global change topics of interest to them. This is one approach to overcoming organizational barriers in the agencies. Subsequent NRC reports have noted the lack of a programwide office with significant budgetary authority. Organizational barriers might be addressed in part by endowing the program office with sufficient authority and staffing to develop the human interactions program element centrally. These constraints have all been present for a long time, and the research community has been aware of them for a long time. All of them were identified in the first NRC (1992) review of human dimensions in the U.S. Global Research Program. Not since that review has any NRC group attempted to define in any detail implementation strategies for overcoming them. The 1992 review, particularly Chapter 6 on data needs, Chapter 7 on human resources and organizational structures, and Chapter 8 on the structure of a national research program, still offers the most comprehensive analysis available for developing recommendations for implementing an effective human dimensions element in the CCSP. However, it requires updating to take into account progress
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change since then in supplying human dimensions knowledge and a major increase in demand for it, occasioned by greatly increased acceptance of the need for science to understand the human consequences of climate change and to inform decisions on how to respond to the associated risks and opportunities. Responding to these constraints also requires attention to the history of the program’s responses since 1990 to NRC recommendations to expand human dimensions research. This history suggests to us that some of the organizational barriers in the CCSP and its participating agencies are strongly entrenched. We therefore suggest that the Strategic Advice Committee give serious attention to ways to overcome organizational barriers, so that its priorities for human systems research will stand a better chance of implementation than the recommendations of past NRC study committees. We suggest that the committee consider such recommendations as (a) reconsidering the purposes of the program at a time when the national concern has broadened from documenting and attributing climate change to informing responses to it, (b) undertaking new commitments at the program level, (c) making organizational changes in the climate programs of CCSP mission agencies, and (d) hiring staff in the program office and some of the agencies with the expertise and authority required to organize the needed research. SUMMARY Reviews of the CCSP and the previous Global Change Research Program have repeatedly found significant underinvestment in research on the human systems and their interactions with climate. Drawing on these reviews and recent discussions at meetings of the NRC Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, this paper identifies five substantive research priorities for developing the human systems side of climate science: research on environmentally significant consumption, judgment and decision making under uncertainty, institutions and climate change, technological change, and valuation of climate change and human responses. Three crosscutting science priorities are also critical:
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Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change developing human systems observations, indicators, and metrics and linking them to natural systems data; understanding nonlinearities and complexities in system response; and understanding scale dependencies and interactions. The paper also identifies six priorities for research that is more action-oriented in the near term than the fundamental research that is suggested. For any of these priorities to be implemented, four critical constraints on scientific progress require attention: limited levels of support, data gaps, limited capability for multidisciplinary environmental research among researchers with social and behavioral science expertise, and perhaps most critical, organizational barriers to human dimensions research in federal agencies responsible for climate change science. The paper briefly discusses implementation issues related to overcoming these constraints. REFERENCES Adger, W.N., S. Agrawala, M.M.Q. Mirza, C. Conde, K. O’Brien, J. Pulhin, R. Pulwarty, B. Smit, and K. Takahashi, 2007, Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity, in Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden, and C.E. Hanson, eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 717–743. Blasing, T.J., C.T. Broniak, and G. Marland, 2004, Estimates of annual fossil-fuel CO2 emitted for each state in the U.S.A. and the District of Columbia for each year from 1960 through 2001, in Trends: A Compendium of Data on Global Change, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, available at http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis_mon/stateemis/emis_state.htm. Brooks, N., and W.N. Adger, 2005, Assessing and enhancing adaptive capacity, in Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change, B. Lim, E. Spanger-Siegfried, I. Burton, E.L. Malone, and S. Huq, eds., Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 165–182.
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