The Bush administration announced a new initiative aimed at determining the severity of global warming and how the federal government should respond to the issue.
The initiative directs 13 federal agencies to begin working to assess the problem of long-term global climate variability and change under the umbrella of a new Climate Change Science Program. The CCSP will be a part of the President's Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration.
The administration has issued a new strategic plan to address some of the most complex questions and problems dealing with global warming. It reflects an unprecedented outreach to interested parties, including some 1,200 scientists and stakeholders and representatives of over 35 countries.
Secretary of Commerce Don Evans also announced a $103 million two-year federal initiative to accelerate the deployment of new global observation technologies, focused on oceans and atmospheric aerosols and carbon. This initiative will provide critical data needed to improve mankind's understanding of global climate change and the ability of all nations to apply their knowledge.
“The Bush administration has brought a total government spending on climate-change related programs to $4.5 billion,” he noted. “This critical investment will accelerate select high priority research projects and climate observations that will help us fill critical knowledge gaps.”
Evans said the president “has asked his advisors to consider approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including those that tap the power of markets, help realize the promise of technology and insure the widest-possible global participation.”
Those principles include:
- Adopt a measured approach based on the best science
- Remain flexible, able to adapt to new discoveries and technology
- Leverage the power of markets and technological innovation
- Insure global participation
- Insure continued economic growth
The strategic plan, which can be viewed at http://climatescience.gov, will advance the state of knowledge of climate variability, the potential response of the climate system (and related human and environmental systems) to human-induced changes in the atmosphere and land surface, and the implications of these potential changes and management options for natural environments, said Evans.
The plan will also support scientific discovery and excellence, and encourage partnerships that facilitate the use of knowledge to protect Earth's environment and insure a safer, healthier planet for future generations.
“This plan identifies four core approaches that will serve as the backbone to achieving its mission,” said Spencer Abraham, secretary of energy and co-chairman of the Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration.
“Those areas are identified as science, observations, decision support and communications. By focusing in these specific areas we can focus on moving in new scientific directions, employing new research activities, filling critical data gaps through observations, developing operational tools for decision-makers and managers and communicating results across communities and across borders.”
Working within the core constructs, the plan outlines five overarching scientific goals aimed at addressing key questions and uncertainties. They include:
- Extend knowledge of Earth's past and present climate and environment, including its natural variability, and improve understanding of the causes of observed changes
- Improve understanding of the forces bringing about changes in Earth's climate and related systems
- Reduce uncertainty in projections of how Earth's climate and environmental systems may change in the future
- Understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed systems to climate and associated global changes
- Explore the uses and identify the limits of evolving knowledge to manage risks and opportunities related to climate variability and change
“The issue of climate variability and change, the level and potential affects of human contributions to these issues and how we adapt and manage our response is a capstone issue for our generation and those to follow.”