Studies that were not specifically designed as guidance to the USGCRP but that have become important references:
• Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate (2009)
• America’s Climate Choices (ACC): Synthesis Report (2011)
• ACC: Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change (2010)
• ACC: Advancing the Science of Climate Change (2010)
• ACC: Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change (2010)
• ACC: Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change (2010)
In mid-2011, a new NRC Committee to Advise the USGCRP was formed and charged to provide a centralized source of ongoing whole-program advice to the USGCRP. The first major task of this committee was to provide a review of the USGCRP draft Strategic Plan 2012-2021 (referred to herein as “the Plan”), which was made available for public comment on September 30, 2011. The Committee’s Statement of Task is shown in Appendix A. The Task Statement questions are addressed in the sections that follow, to varying degrees. Some aspects of the Committee’s charge proved to be challenging, because the Plan does not provide enough implementation details to allow us to fairly assess some of the questions asked.
This review was completed in a very short time (roughly eight weeks, concurrent with the public comment period for the Plan), which allowed the Committee to only touch upon numerous complex issues. Rather than providing section-by-section comments and line-by-line editing suggestions, the Committee felt it would be more valuable to focus instead on high-level concerns.
As part of its review, the Committee asked members of the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) and its Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change (CHDGC), both of which have had long-standing advisory roles with respect to the USGCRP, to examine the draft Plan and offer their input to the Committee orally or in writing1. We have drawn on this input in writing the review, and some comments (in particular, detailed editing suggestions) are presented in Appendix C. These members’ comments should be viewed as “supplemental” to the main committee’s review. We felt it was best to convey these additional comments in their entirety, even though in some cases they overlap with points raised by the main committee.
The draft Plan proposes a significant broadening of the Program’s scope from the form it took as the CCSP. As described in more detail later in this report, the Plan envisions a USGCRP that addresses not only climate change but also other climate-related (and human-caused) global changes. It also envisions a Program that would include a more broadly integrated system of observations; more fully integrate the social sciences; undertake scientific analyses related to mitigating and adapting to global changes; and pay greater attention to decision support,
1We thank, in particular, Anthony Janetos and Richard Moss, who served as liaisons with BASC and the CHDGC, respectively.