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Enclosed is a copy of the National Research Council report titled The Science of Regional and Global Change: Putting Knowledge 10 Work. This report, a product of the Committee on Global Change Research, was officially released on January 24, 2001. It briefly describes the challenges and proposes some actions needed from the highest levels of the government to make environmental change research and the application of that research as effective as possible. It describes the steps that will be necessary for the new administration to enhance human health and prosperity in a world where growing populations and the drive to improve living standards place potentially huge demands on natural resources and the environment.

The report concludes that the presently available observational and modeling information on the environment is useful but cannot provide all of the knowledge needed to make properly informed decisions on many crucial issues. The report states that to guide wise public policy decisions and to clarify public debate, it is necessary to restructure the nation's approach to the science and engineering that addresses the changes in biological, chemical, and physical integrity of our surroundings. A new management philosophy for the environmental research enterprise must be adopted that encompasses several disciplines, includes public and private-sector participation, and involves end users and stakeholders as well as researchers at all steps of the process, from basic research to decision making. One of the challenges will be to embrace a new regionally-specific approach while continuing to foster and even strengthen the global-scale environmental research enterprise, which produced remarkable advances in knowledge over the past decade.

The first step recommended in the report is the establishment of a high-level governing authority to coordinate global and regional environmental research and related decisions, so that issues of highest priority have adequate resources. In addition to this first step, the report contains several other recommendations aimed at improving the effectiveness of global and regional environmental change research. The report is intended to promote a dialogue between the scientific community and the government officials who will lead our nation in the coming years.

For further information on global change research activities at the National Research Council consult our website: or contact me directly (202-334-1499 or or my assistant Karen Elliott (202-334-3511 or

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2101 Constitution An., NW, Washington, DC 20418. 202-334-3511 (teh), 202-334-3825 (fax)

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The Science of Regional

Global Change


Committee on Global Change Research

National Research Council


Washington, D.C.


2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National
Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National
Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report
were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract No. 50-DKNA-7.90052 between the National Academy of Sciences and the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations
expressed in this publicadon are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations
or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-07327-8

Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, -V.W.,
Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area);

Printed in the United States of America
Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal govemmeat. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal govemmeat and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal govemment. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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