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and the agency representatives in interagency Committee2 of the Program “shall be high ranking officials of their agency or department, wherever possible the head of the portion of that agency or department that is most relevant to the purpose of the program as describe in the Act.” Further, the 1990 Act mandated that the “President should direct the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the Committee, to initiate discussions with other nations leading toward international protocols and other agreements to coordinate global change research activities … the purpose of which is to: (i) promote international, intergovernmental cooperation on global change research; (ii) involve scientists and policymakers from developing nations in such cooperative global change research programs; and (iii) promote international efforts to provide technical and other assistance to developing nations which will facilitate improvements in their domestic standard of living while minimizing damage to the global or regional environment.”

  • Priority-Setting Responsibilities of the National Research Council. The NRC is charged in the Act with the responsibility to (i) evaluate the scientific content of the research program and plan, (ii) provide information and advice obtained from United States and international sources, and (iii) recommended priorities for future global change research. Historically, the NRC has established a variety of committees or boards to implement this responsibility.

  • Guidance for Implementing the Research Program. The committee shall each year provide general guidance to each federal agency or department participating in the program with respect to the preparation of requests for appropriations for activities related to the program.3 This annual guidance historically has been implemented by a “Terms of Reference” document, prepared and issued jointly by OMB and OSTP Directors, that describes the responsibilities of (i) OMB and OSTP, (ii) all participating USGCRP agencies and departments, and (iii) the federal interagency committee for developing the research program and all elements of the budget submittals. The history of the USGCRP leads to a simple conclusion: An effective program must engage the leadership at high levels of (i) OMB and OSTP and other appropriate Offices of the


The Act states that “The President, through the Council (currently the NSTC and earlier the FCCSET), shall establish a Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEER). The Committee shall carry out Council functions under section 401 of the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 6651) relating to global change research, for the purpose of increasing the overall effectiveness and productivity of Federal global change research efforts. The initial name of the Committee, the CEER, had its name changed to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) with the same charge as the CEER.


This is a markedly different authority to conduct the interagency process than existed prior to 1990, resulting in implementation during the late 1980s and early 1990s that had more direct budgetary responsibility of the program’s content and budget.

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