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President, (ii) the participating agencies and departments, (iii) the committee structure under the NSTC, and (iv) the NAS through the NRC committees and boards and hence the science communities of the nation. The Act states the program of research “consider and utilize, as appropriate, reports and studies conducted by Federal agencies and departments, the NRC and other entities.” Hence, the research program should be guided by NRC recommendations, and the NRC may need to reassess the means by which it provides advice on program priorities.

  • Preparing a Global Change Research Plan. “The Chairman of the NSTC, through the Committee, shall develop a National Global Change Research Plan (including climate change) for implementation of the Program. The Plan shall contain priorities and recommendations for a national global change research. The Chairman of the Council shall submit the Plan to the Congress at least once every three years ... in developing the Plan, the Committee shall consult with academic, State, industry, and environmental groups and representatives.”

  • Conducting Climate and Global Change Assessments. “The committee shall prepare and submit to the President and the Congress an assessment every 4 years which (i) integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the program and discusses the scientific uncertainties associated with such findings; (ii) analyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity; and (iii) analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years.“ It was under this set of responsibilities that the United States sought to establish an international assessment process, leading to the creation of the IPCC.

  • Congressional Oversight and Appropriations. The U.S. Congress played a critical role in the development of the 1990 Act, with senior staff working closely with OMB and OSTP to draft the 1990 Act. Thereafter, the House Committee on Science and Technology and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation have provided oversight to ensure compliance with the mandates of the Act. Further, the Appropriations Committees in both the Senate and the House hold hearings on the progress being made under the Act and its mandates, as the Act requires that an annual program and budget for the USGCRP be submitted concurrent with and as a separate companion document4 to the President’s Budget.5 Finally, the Congressional Research


This is the origin of “Our Changing Planet,” the program and budget document submitted in early February each year as a companion to the President’s Annual Budget Submission to Congress.


As a result of this set of legislatively mandated responsibilities, immediately upon the enactment of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the Director of OMB and the President’s Science and

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