Program begins assessing the consequences of climate change



The nation's attention has recently become focused on climate change. But long before this season's El Niño hit the California coast and the Kyoto Conference made global warming a subject of news reports, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) embarked on a national assessment to focus federal agency research on the regional consequences of climate change. The USGCRP provides a framework for federal agencies to conduct research that increases our understanding of the Earth system and provides sound scientific information for national and international decision- making on global change issues.

The USGCRP member agencies are now engaged in a national assessment of the consequences of climate variability and change for the United States. The main components of this assessment process have been a series of regional workshops, an Aspen Global Change Institute meeting of regional workshop participants that was held July 29–August 7, 1997, to begin to synthesize the workshop results, and a national forum, which was held in Washington, D.C., last November to engage a broader range of stakeholders in defining issues to be addressed in the assessment.