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Advancing the Science of Climate Change
change (including the emerging federal approach to provide “climate services”). Scientific research also underpins the development, implementation, and assessment of policies and technologies intended to limit the magnitude of climate change and, as such, is an important partner for technology development programs such as the Climate Change Technology Program. Such an “end-to-end” climate change research enterprise was also called for in the recent NRC reports Restructuring Federal ClimateResearch to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change (NRC, 2009k) and Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate (NRC, 2009g). Achieving this vision will require high-level coordination, ideally through formal mechanisms, between the research program and action-oriented programs at the federal level. It will also requite new and improved mechanisms for engaging with both research and action-oriented programs at state and local levels. Finally, partnerships with the international research community will be essential for maximizing the effectiveness of domestic investments in climate change research.
Recommendation 7: Congress, federal agencies, and the federal climate changeresearch program should work with other relevant partners (including universities, state and local governments, the international research community, thebusiness community, and other nongovernmental organizations) to expandand engage the human capital needed to carry out climate change research andresponse programs.
The scale, importance, and complexity of the climate challenge implies a critical need to increase the workforce performing fundamental and decision-relevant climate research, implementing responses to climate change, and working at the interface between science and decision making. Thanks to more than three decades of research on climate change, the disciplinary research community in the United States and elsewhere is strong, at least in research areas that have received significant emphasis and support. However, the more integrative and decision-relevant research program described in this report will require expanded intellectual capacity in several previously neglected fields as well as in interdisciplinary research areas. Responding effectively to climate change will also require new interdisciplinary intellectual capacity among state, local, and national government agencies, universities, and other public and private research labs, as well as among science managers coordinating efforts to advance the science of climate change. Building and mobilizing this broad research community will require a concerted and coordinated effort.
The federal climate research program, federal agencies and laboratories, universities, professional societies, and other elements of the nation’s research enterprise should use a variety of mechanisms to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary and