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Climate Change Science Program

Introduction

The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is a U.S. collaborative interagency research program that manages government study into climate change. The CCSP oversees and integrates the research activities of 13 federal agencies including the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. In total, the CCSP manages over $1 billion of climate change research annually.

Historical Background and Scientific Foundations

In 1990, the Global Change Research Act was passed in the United States. This established the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a coordinated interagency program designed to study changes in the global environment and the implication of such changes. In 2001, President George W. Bush established the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI). The focus of the CCRI was conducting short-term research that would allow for improved decision-making and policy decisions.

In February 2002, the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) was launched to oversee and integrate both the USGCRP and the CCRI. In “Preview of Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2008,” the CCSP's mission is stated as follows: to “facilitate the creation and application of knowledge of the Earth's global environment through research, observations, decision support, and communication.”

Impacts and Issues

In July 2003, the CCSP released a 10-year strategic plan outlining future research activities. The plan identified five research goals:

  1. To improve knowledge of Earth's climate and its variability;
  2. To improve quantification of climate change forces;
  3. To reduce uncertainty in climate change predictions;
  4. To understand the adaptability of ecosystems and human systems to climate change;
  5. To identify the limits of knowledge to manage risks and opportunities related to climate change.

The funding for research is provided by the government agencies that are part of the program. The 2007 budget request was $240.6 million for the first goal, $304.8 million for goal two, $283.2 million for goal three, $160.1 million for goal four, and $150.7 million for goal five. This equates to a total of $1.1 billion.

WORDS TO KNOW

CLIMATE CHANGE: Sometimes used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistency, but because Earth's climate is never static, the term is more properly used to imply a significant change from one climatic condition to another. In some cases, climate change has been used synonymously with the term, global warming; scientists, however, tend to use the term in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate.

See Also Global Change Research Program; United States: Climate Policy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

National Research Council of the National Academies. Implementing Climate and Global Change Research:

A Review of the Final U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004.

Web Sites

“Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2008.” U.S. Climate Change Science Program, December 15, 2006. < http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/ocp2008preview/default.htm> (accessed November 6, 2007).

“Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program Final Report, July 2003.” U.S. Climate Change Science Program, May 19, 2007. < http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/stratplan2003/final/default.htm> (accessed November 6, 2007).

Tony Hawas

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Climate Change Science Program

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