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53. What can be done to improve knowledge for future
Action is needed in several areas. Collection and dissemination
of data that provide an uninterrupted record of the evolving
climate and of data that are needed for the improvement and testing
of climate models should be expanded. Weather forecasts should be
improved, especially of extremes, for weeks and seasons to ease
adaptation to climate change. The mechanisms that play a
significant role in the responses of the climate to changing
concentrations of greenhouse gases need further identification, and
quantification at scales appropriate for climate models. Field
research should be conducted on entire systems of species over many
years to learn how CO2 enrichment
and other facets of greenhouse warming alter the mix of species and
changes in total production or quality of biomass. Research on
social and economic aspects of global change and greenhouse warming
should be strengthened.
54. Do geoengineering options really have potential?
Preliminary assessments of these options suggest that they have
large potential to mitigate greenhouse warming and are relatively
cost-effective in comparison to other mitigation options. However,
their feasibility and especially the side-effects associated with
them need to be carefully examined. Because the geoengineering
options have the potential to affect greenhouse warming on a
substantial scale, because there is convincing evidence that some
of these cause or alter a variety of chemical reactions in the
atmosphere, and because the climate system is poorly understood,
such options must be considered extremely carefully. If greenhouse
warming occurs, and the climate system turns out to be highly
sensitive to radiative forcing, they may be needed.
55. What should the United States do at the international
The United States should resume full participation in
international programs to slow population growth and contribute its
share to their financial and other support. In addition, the United
States should participate fully in international agreements and
programs to address greenhouse warming, including representation by
officials at an appropriate level.