and related effects. The "Mitigation Panel" looked at options for reducing or reversing the onset of potential global warming. The "Adaptation Panel" assessed the impacts of possible climate change on human and ecologic systems and the policies that could help people and natural systems adapt to those changes.
This is the report of the Synthesis Panel. The reports of all four panels will be published by the National Academy Press in a single volume.
The panels conducted their analyses simultaneously between September 1989 and January 1991. The chairmen of the Effects, Mitigation, and Adaptation panels were members of the Synthesis Panel. Several members of the Synthesis Panel also were members of other panels. In its deliberations, however, the Synthesis Panel considered more than just the reports of the other panels. It also heard from experts with a range of views on the policy relevance of computer simulation models, widely held to be the best available tools for projecting climate change, and of economic models used to assess consequences of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The study also drew upon the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international effort released during the course of the study. Several members of the various study panels also contributed to that effort. Finally, the study drew upon other Academy studies. For example, in its examination of sea level, the panel used analyses from the following reports: Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and Sea Level: Effects of a CO2-Induced Climatic Change (National Academy Press, 1985), Responding to Changes in Sea Level: Engineering Implications (National Academy Press, 1987), and Sea-Level Change (National Academy Press, 1990). The report of the Synthesis Panel is thus much more than a summary of the assessments performed by the other three panels. It contains analysis that goes beyond the topics covered by the other panels.
The report identifies what should be done now to counter potential greenhouse warming or deal with its likely consequences. The recommendations of the Synthesis Panel, if followed, should provide the United States, and the rest of the world, with a rational basis for responding to this very important concern.
The Honorable Daniel J. Evans, Chairman
Policy Implications of Greenhouse WarmingSynthesis Panel
Greenhouse gases and global warming have received increasing attention in recent years. The identification of the antarctic ozone hole in 1985 combined with the hot, dry summer of 1988 in North America to provide the drama that seems to be required for capturing national media coverage. Emerging scientific results, including findings about greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, added to the interest.