Foreword About Americas Climate Choices

onvened by the National Research Council in response to a request from

■ Congress (P.L. 110-161), America's Climate Choices is a suite of five coordinated ^^^ activities designed to study the serious and sweeping issues associated with global climate change, including the science and technology challenges involved, and to provide advice on the most effective steps and most promising strategies that can be taken to respond.

The Committee on America's Climate Choices is responsible for providing overall direction, coordination, and integration of the America's Climate Choices suite of activities and ensuring that these activities provide well-supported, action-oriented, and useful advice to the nation. The committee convened a Summit on America's Climate Choices on March 30-31, 2009, to help frame the study and provide an opportunity for highlevel input on key issues. The committee is also charged with writing a final report that builds on four panel reports and other sources to answer the following four overarching questions:

• What short-term actions can be taken to respond effectively to climate change?

• What promising long-term strategies, investments, and opportunities could be pursued to respond to climate change?

• What are the major scientific and technological advances needed to better understand and respond to climate change?

• What are the major impediments (e.g., practical, institutional, economic, ethical, intergenerational, etc.) to responding effectively to climate change, and what can be done to overcome these impediments?

The Panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change was charged to describe, analyze, and assess strategies for reducing the net future human influence on climate. This report focuses on actions to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions and other human drivers of climate change, such as changes in land use, but also considers the international dimensions of climate stabilization.

The Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change was charged to describe, analyze, and assess actions and strategies to reduce vulnerability, increase adaptive

FOREWORD

capacity, improve resiliency, and promote successful adaptation to climate change in different regions, sectors, systems, and populations. The panel's report draws on a wide range of sources and case studies to identify lessons learned from past experiences, promising current approaches, and potential new directions.

The Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change was charged to provide a concise overview of past, present, and future climate change, including its causes and its impacts, and to recommend steps to advance our current understanding, including new observations, research programs, next-generation models, and the physical and human assets needed to support these and other activities. This report focuses on the scientific advances needed both to improve our understanding of the integrated human-climate system and to devise more effective responses to climate change.

The Panel on Informing Effective Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change was charged to describe and assess different activities, products, strategies, and tools for informing decision makers about climate change and helping them plan and execute effective, integrated responses. The panel's report describes the different types of climate change-related decisions and actions being taken at various levels and in different sectors and regions; it develops a framework, tools, and practical advice for ensuring that the best available technical knowledge about climate change is used to inform these decisions and actions.

America's Climate Choices builds on an extensive foundation of previous and ongoing work, including National Research Council reports, assessments from other national and international organizations, the current scientific literature, climate action plans by various entities, and other sources. More than a dozen boards and standing committees of the National Research Council were involved in developing the study, and many additional groups and individuals provided additional input during the study process. Outside viewpoints were also obtained via public events and workshops (including the Summit), invited presentations at committee and panel meetings, and comments received through the study website, http://americasclimatechoices.org.

Collectively, the America's Climate Choices suite of activities involves more than 90 volunteers from a range of communities including academia, various levels of government, business and industry, other nongovernmental organizations, and the international community. Responsibility for the final content of each report rests solely with the authoring panel and the National Research Council. However, the development of each report included input from and interactions with members of all five study groups; the membership of each group is listed in Appendix A.

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