Chapter Conclusion

Although the exact details cannot be predicted with certainty, there is a clear scientific understanding that climate change poses serious risks to human society and many of the physical and ecological systems upon which society depends with the specific impacts of concern, and the relative likelihood of those impacts, varying significantly from place to place and over time. It is likewise clear that actions to reduce GHG emissions and to increase adaptive capacity will lower the likelihood and...

Advancing Scientific Understanding and Technological Development

As discussed in NRC, Advancing the Science, scientific research in the United States and around the world has greatly enhanced our understanding of climate change and its causes and effects. The U.S. Global Change Research Program has played an important role in this effort. However, because important questions remain unanswered and because the stakes are so high, it is imperative to continue research, in both the biophysical and social sciences, aimed at increasing our understanding of climate...

Emission Offsets

Offsets can be used at either the domestic or international level to help lower the cost of reducing emissions. In most cases, an offset system allows actions that remove or prevent GHG emissions in one place to cancel (or offset) an equivalent amount of emissions elsewhere. Offsets can include investments in agriculture and land management, reforestation, energy efficiency, capture or destruction of industrial gases and methane, or low carbon energy generation such as renewables. International...

An Effective National Adaptation Strategy

Much of the work of adaptation will be done by state, local, and tribal21 governments, private-sector firms, nongovernmental organizations, and representatives of especially vulnerable regions, sectors, or groups. Decision makers at these levels often lack the resources necessary to perform this work effectively or lack experience in accessing and using information that may be available to inform their decisions. Dealing with vulnerabilities that cross geographic, sectoral, or other boundaries...

Ex Officio Members

MEEHL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer MAGGIE WALSER, Program Officer KATIE WELLER, Associate Program Officer RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator LAUREN M. BROWN, Research Associate ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate SHELLY FREELAND, Senior Program Assistant RICARDO PAYNE, Senior Program Assistant AMANDA PURCELL, Senior Program Assistant ELIZABETH...

Member Biographical Sketches

Albert Carnesale (NAE) (Chair) is Chancellor Emeritus and Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was Chancellor of the University from 1997 through 2006 and now serves as Professor of Public Policy and of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research and teaching focus on public policy issues having substantial scientific and technological dimensions, and he is the author or co-author of six books and more than 100 articles on a wide range of subjects,...

Coordination Across Organizations

Dozens of federal agencies and other organizations are carrying out research, making decisions, and taking action on climate change through a host of existing programs and authorities. These include, for example, adaptation on federal lands (Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Defense) research on climate change and related impacts (many agencies) research and development for technologies to respond to climate change (Department of Energy) information provision (Energy Information...

The climate system is highly complex as are the human institutions that are affected by and that must respond to

The difficulty of developing sound strategies for responding to climate change, and of building public support for such strategies, stems in part from the inherent complexity of the issue. Some of this complexity relates to the physical science of climate change but understanding and responding to climate change also raises many social, economic, ethical, and political challenges. The chapter highlights some of the unique challenges posed by climate change that must be considered in designing...

Notes and References

The analyses in this report focus primarily on energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which constitute roughly 83 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA , Draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 1990-2009. EPA 430-R-11-005 Washington, D.C. EPA, 2011, available at accessed March 2, 2011 ). As discussed in Chapter 1, however, there are other long-lived greenhouse gases, as well as shorter-lived gas and particulate...