Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change

Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1994



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Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1994

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Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This work was sponsored, under contract no. OCE 9313563, by the National Science Foundation; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Office of Naval Research, U.S. Department of the Navy; and the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional copies of this report are available from: Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change COMMITTEE ON THE HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ORAN R. YOUNG (Chair), Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College ERIC J. BARRON, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University THOMAS DIETZ, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, George Mason University BARUCH FISCHHOFF, Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University ESTELLA B. LEOPOLD, Department of Biology, University of Washington DIANA LIVERMAN, Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University BONNIE J. MCCAY, Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University RONALD R. RINDFUSS, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina VERNON W. RUTTAN, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, University of Minnesota STEVEN E. SANDERSON, Tropical Conservation and Development, University of Florida ROBERT SOCOLOW, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Princeton University JAMES SWEENEY, Department of Engineering-Economic Systems, Stanford University Ex Officio HAROLD K. JACOBSON (University of Michigan), Chair, International Social Science Council Steering Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change EDWARD A. FRIEMAN (University of California, San Diego), Chair, Board on Global Change Staff PAUL C. STERN, Study Director MARY E. THOMAS, Senior Project Assistant

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Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change Preface In the years since the creation of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, the international scientific community has come to accept that an understanding of global environmental change requires a focused and sustained consideration of its human dimensions—the effects of human activity on large physical and biological systems, the impacts of environmental change on people and societies, the responses of social systems to actual or anticipated environmental change, and the interactions among all these processes. At the request of the National Science Foundation, in 1989 the National Research Council established the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change to assess knowledge relevant to these issues and develop a research agenda for the field. The committee published its findings in a 1992 book entitled Global Environmental Change: Understanding the Human Dimensions. Since the release of that report, the committee has functioned in an advisory capacity to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and to the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Programme of the International Social Science Council. The U.S. and international research programs have continued to mature, and the U.S. program in particular has begun to grow more rapidly in response to the government 's increasing interest in gathering policy-relevant scientific knowledge. This report responds to the recent expansion of the USGCRP's scope to emphasize policy-relevant knowledge, much of which must come from research on human-environment interactions, the area of the committee's advisory responsibility. To provide intellectual guidance to this expansion of the program,

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Science Priorities for the Human Dimensions of Global Change the committee identifies five science priorities—areas in which incremental, focused effort can be expected to yield particularly high returns of policy-relevant knowledge in the near term. It also defines a process through which a broad spectrum of members of the relevant communities of scientists, research sponsors, and consumers can develop these priorities into detailed science plans and implementation plans. The research programs outlined here will contribute substantially to the U.S. government's stated goals of conducting “end-to-end (integrated) assessments of global change issues” and engaging in policy-relevant analyses of mitigation and adaptation strategies. They will complement the large, ongoing programs of research on earth system processes by building knowledge in other areas that must be integrated with knowledge of those processes to inform policy choices. As a result, these human dimensions programs will produce a solid base of knowledge on which to build future policy analyses. This report has benefited greatly from the efforts of staff at the National Research Council, particularly Paul C. Stern, the study director, and Carey Gellman and Mary E. Thomas, who provided administrative support. In addition, we offer special thanks to Christine McShane, the commission's editor. We also wish to express our appreciation to two former committee members, B.L. Turner and Barbara Boyle Torrey, and to staff members at the U.S. Global Change Research Program and its member agencies, whose ideas have helped the committee think through the issue of research priorities: Thomas Baerwald, Robin Cantor, John Houghton, Sally Kane, Michael McCracken, Richard Moss, and Joel Scheraga. Oran R. Young, Chair Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change