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place both in written form, via a ''call for comments," and in a public forum, which took place on August 20-24, 1995, in Irvine, California. The forum would include presentations of the commissioned-paper authors and invited guests and discussion of the topics in plenary and breakout sessions in relation to several key questions that would form the framework of the report (see Parts II and III).

  • Report. Fourth, the committee, which was to include a group of persons with broad relevant experience, was to convene, consider commissioned papers, discuss potential long-term goals, receive the views of selected representatives of those who are interested and affected by the policy in question, and attain consensus on recommended national goals in a published report. The short report would present the committee's consensus as to what should be the nation's science and technology goals for the environment, summarize the call for comments, and include the commissioned papers.

The environmental goals will never be achieved absolutely—this is an ongoing process.

—Forum Participant Comment*

Questions that seemed to recur in the committee's deliberations were, Who is the audience for this report? and What, exactly, are science and technology goals? After some discussion, the committee concluded that the audience for its report was the science and engineering community—particularly, though not exclusively, those working in environmental research and development. In addition, the report provides guidance to government officials who fund research in some of these subjects as to which ones the committee believes need the most attention in response to societal needs. Furthermore, government agencies are a source of the much of the information analyzed by scientists. The report suggests ways in which agencies can focus their efforts.

Science and technology goals are more than a "research agenda" (i.e., more than a list of all the items in which we need research). Instead, science and technology goals identify research subjects on which there is insufficient focus by scientists and engineers relative to responding to societal goals.


Environmental goals were discussed with respect to industry, federal agencies, states, the nation, and the world.1 These differ qualitatively and quantitatively.


Throughout the report, the reader will find boxes that provide some of the comments from those who responded to the call for comments or who participated in the forum discussions. The purpose of these boxes is to describe some of the varied opinions on societal goals that influenced the committee's choices on topic selection. Inclusion of these boxes does not represent an endorsement of the opinion expressed by the authors. To be consistent with the ground rules that were established as part of this process, the committee does not identify the individual authors of the statement.


One of the committee members noted that goals for the environment can be inferred in the preamble of the US Constitution, which calls on the federal government to "insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare…."

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