Tuesday, May 25, 2010

US scientific body seeks national climate change strategy

The Royal Society of Chemistry: The US National Research Council (NRC) is urging its government to act immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy for adapting to the impacts of global warming. NRC, which is the operating arm of the US National Academies, made the plea on 19 May, when it released the first three of five reports requested by Congress more than two years ago to analyse the climate change situation.

The report suggests that a revolution is needed in how climate change research is supported, organised and conducted in the US. It recommends that a single federal interagency programme or other entity, like the US Global Change Research Program, should be given the authority and resources to coordinate and implement a comprehensive, integrated national climate change research effort.

The second report proposes that the US establish a measurable domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions budget in the range of 170 to 200 gigatons of CO2-equivalent for the period 2012 through 2050. NRC notes that there are several ongoing efforts to limit greenhouse gases across the US, but what is lacking is a framework of national goals and polices to help coordinate and expand these scattered initiatives.

The third report calls on the government to develop a national adaptation strategy that reduces vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change. As part of this framework, NRC suggests that the federal government provide technical and scientific resources that are missing at the local or regional scale, and support scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

Bob Peoples, a chemist who also heads the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute, agrees with the NRC that harmonisation of the US approach to climate change is urgently needed….

John Collier's 1942 shot of the Champion Number One Coal Cleaning Plant near Pittsburgh

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