BOX 1.1
The America’s Climate Choices Study

In 2008, Congress commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to: “investigate and study the serious and sweeping issues relating to global climate change and make recommendations regarding what steps must be taken and what strategies must be adopted in response to global climate change, including the science and technology challenges thereof.” In response to this mandate, and with financial support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the America’s Climate Choices suite of activities was established. A Summit on America’s Climate Choices held in March 2009, and independent panels were convened to study and produce reports focusing on four specific aspects of responding to climate change: Advancing the Science of Climate Change,a Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change,b Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change,c and Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change.d

The panel reports offer a detailed analysis of possible actions and investments in each of these four realms—for instance, regarding specific technologies and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, needs and opportunities for adapting to climate change impacts, and key research needs in different areas of climate change science (see Appendix C for more details about the content of the panel reports). This final report by the Committee on America’s Climate Choices draws on the information and analysis in the four panel reports, as well as a variety of other sources, to identify cross-cutting challenges and offer both a general framework and specific recommendations for establishing an effective national response to climate change.

 

a National Research Council (NRC), Advancing the Science of Climate Change (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2010).

b National Research Council (NRC),Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change(Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2010).

cNational Research Council (NRC),Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change(Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2010).

d National Research Council (NRC), Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change(Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2010).

arching framework for responding to climate change. Chapter 5 offers recommendations for the key elements of an effective, robust U.S. response.

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION TRENDS

Despite an international agreement signed by the United States and 153 other nations in 1992 to stabilize atmospheric GHG concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,”1 GHG emissions have continued to rise. Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions constitutes roughly



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement