At last week’s briefing on the FY 2016 budget request for federal R&D agencies, OSTP Director John Holdren discussed challenges and opportunities in science and technology. “One set of those challenges and opportunities sitting squarely at the intersection of science and technology and public policy of course revolves around climate change” he said.
The Senate voted on an amendment stating “it is the sense of Congress that— (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” Fifty senators voted in favor the amendment, including five Republican senators.
“There is established an Arctic Executive Steering Committee . . . which shall provide guidance to executive departments and agencies . . . and enhance coordination of Federal Arctic policies across agencies and offices, and, where applicable, with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors” declares an Executive Order issued by President Obama.
The public has until August 11 to comment on a new report just issued on global climate change. The report, "Climate Change Impacts on the United States, the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change," presents a sobering view of how global warming could affect different regions and sectors in the United States in the next 100 years.
At the June 1992 Earth Summit, the U.S. joined other countries in agreeing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. One year after the introduction of the Clinton Administration's "Climate Change Action Plan," the U.S. has completed the first assessment of its policies and their impacts. Presented by Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary last month at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, the 200-page "Climate Action Report" provides a "snapshot" of current policies
The Committee on America’s Climate Choices issued its final report this month, stating that “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.”The report includes a broad range of recommendations, including that the United States should substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible, start to make adaptation plans, continue research efforts to better understand climate change, and engage on an international level to address the global scale of the problem.
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power delved into the science and politics of climate change in a March 8 hearing entitled “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” The hearing served as a microcosm of the debate on climate change in the U.S. House of Representatives, highlighting the sharp differences in views between the new Republican majority and the Democratic minority.
A hearing last month of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee produced no surprises. As expected, there was no evidence of any changes of opinion about the merits of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions.
As reported in FYI #11, the American Geophysical Union on January 28 held a press conference to release a position statement on greenhouse gases and climate change. The full text of the statement is provided below. It is also available on AGU's Web Page at http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change.html: