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National Weather Service predicted would be hot in order to maximize the public impact of the testimony.

  1. Weather. The triggering event of the hottest, driest summer in decades gave people a graphic example of what might be in store because of global warming.

  • Getting an issue on the agenda is a different matter from keeping it on as a continuing agenda item or formulating and building a consensus for possible solutions to the problem. As a moderator to this panel, I wish to identify a few questions that I hope the panelists may choose to address:

  • What happens if the weather is cool and wet during the next few summers?

  • Will the disagreements within science increase, not so much about the correctness of the prediction but rather concerning the importance of the issue and what sort of research should be conducted? Will the public become disenchanted and skeptical about global climate change as it listens to conflicting scientific viewpoints?

  • How will the policy debate change? Will alternatives in national energy policy continue to be the focal point of debate, or will other matters be considered? Will social science have a role in suggesting other responses, such as human adaptation to change through resettlement and changing lifestyles? Will we come to recognize the limits to the earth's capacity to sustain continued growth in human populations and increased human intervention into natural systems?

  • Who are the winners and the losers in global climate change? Third World countries, which have contributed rather little to the creation of the climate change problem, may nonetheless carry the brunt of policies to limit development and to preserve forests. How can the burden of reducing the load of greenhouse gases be equitably shared among winners and losers?

I now turn to our speakers to address these and other issues.


Ingram, H. M., H. J. Cortner, and M. K. Landy. 1990. The political agenda. Pp. 421-443 in P. E. Waggoner, ed., Climate Change and U.S. Water Resources. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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