Climate Change Research Efforts Should Focus on Fundamental Use Inspired Research

This report recognizes the need for research to both understand climate changes and assist in decision making related to climate change. In categorizing types of scientific research, we have found that terms such as "pure,""basic,""applied," and "curiosity driven" have different definitions across communities, are as likely to cause confusion as to advance consensus, and are of limited value in discussing climate change. A more compelling categorization is offered by Stokes (1997), who argues that two questions should be asked of a research topic: Does it contribute to fundamental understanding? Can it be expected to be useful? Research that can answer yes to both of these questions, or "fundamental, use-inspired research," warrants special priority in a climate science enterprise that seeks to both increase understanding and assist in decision making. Research that addresses one or the other of Stoke's questions, which describes the full range of scientific inquiry, is also valuable. Priority setting is discussed in further detail in the next section.

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