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First the word was that not only car emissions but cow burps may play a significant role in global warming. Then, the story turned to rice paddies and cockroaches as likely sources of greenhouse gases. Sound confusing? It should.

Now even experts readily admit global warming research is chock-full of uncertainties. And these issues offer only a freeze-frame of the broader climate change motion picture. Everything from whether sea levels will rise to whether hurricanes will be come more frequent to whether solar forcing plays a role in all of this is now in question. This means that making and implementing effective international climate change policies remains a tenuous process—even at a time when the overall funding for global change research is at an all-time high in the United States.