should be revised in the light of experience and new knowledge. After considerable discussion of the task, and the relation of its work to the other three America’s Climate Choices (ACC) panels, the Informing panel chose to investigate the following key questions for this report:

  • Who is making decisions and taking action on climate change in the United States? What are their needs for information and decision support, and what are the barriers to good decisions?

  • What decision making frameworks and methods are being used, and which are the most effective?

  • How might climate and greenhouse gas information systems and services support more effective decisions and actions?

  • What is known about the most effective ways to communicate about climate change, especially with the public and through formal and informal education?

This report sets out to identify the types of decisions that may need to be made about climate change by governments, the private sector, and society. It examines the ways in which information to support these decisions can be provided more effectively through the development of new, authoritative and accessible information, especially about climate impacts and GHG emissions. Finally, it looks at the development of decision tools that facilitate the use of information and integrate the key values, data, and processes that interact to shape alternative futures.

Although we hope that our findings will be of interest to a wide range of decision makers, our recommendations are directed primarily toward the federal government and its role in informing and coordinating a national response to climate change.


The ACC companion reports (Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change (NRC, 2010d), Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change (NRC, 2010a), and Advancing the Science of Climate Change (NRC, 2010b) provide detailed overviews of the causes, consequences, and range of responses to climate change in the United States and globally. Collectively they communicate a sense of urgency about the risks of climate change and the need to make immediate decisions related to reducing GHG emissions, implementing adaptation strategies, and investing in research.

This ACC panel agrees with the conclusions of the report Advancing the Science of Climate Change (NRC, 2010b) that “[c]limate change is occurring, is caused largely

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