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  • Develop improved observations, models, and vulnerability assessments for regions of importance in terms of military infrastructure.

  • Build understanding of observations and monitoring requirements for treaty verification.

  • Identify areas of potential human insecurity and vulnerability in response to climate change impacts interacting with other social and environmental changes.


Analyzing different policy options that might be used to limit the magnitude of climate change or promote successful adaptation is a key area of scientific research. Indeed, the ability to comprehensively assess the potential consequences of various climate policies—including the costs, benefits, trade-offs, co-benefits, and uncertainties associated with their implementation—is paramount to informing public- and private-sector decision making on climate change. Despite a broad range of research focusing on policy making and evaluation in general, policy-oriented research focused specifically on climate change and its interaction with natural and social systems has been relatively limited. Because climate change is becoming an increasingly important public policy concern in the United States and many other countries, additional research to support climate policy design and implementation is needed.

International Policies for Limiting the Magnitude and Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

At the international level, examples of climate policies include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Copenhagen Accord. Policy options available at the national, regional, and local levels include direct regulation, taxes, cap-and-trade systems for emissions permits, incentive structures and subsidies for voluntary action, technical aid and incentives for the creation and implementation of new technology portfolios, and adaptation options and planning. Research in this area finds that direct regulation, when enforced, can effectively reduce emissions. It also finds that while taxes are cost-effective, they do not guarantee specific emissions-reduction levels and may be hard to adjust, and that the efficacy of tradable permits depends on the structure of the policy. Voluntary agreements can play a role in accelerating technology adoption, but they are less effective in reducing


For additional discussion and references, see Chapter 17 in Part II of the report.

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