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Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century

by National Research Council of the National Academies

In the last 20 years, there has been a remarkable emergence of innovations and technological advances that are generating promising changes and opportunities for sustainable agriculture, yet at the same time the agricultural sector worldwide faces numerous daunting challenges. Not only is the agricultural sector expected to produce adequate food, fiber, and feed, and contribute to biofuels to meet the needs of a rising global population, it is expected to do so under increasingly scarce natural resources and climate change. Growing awareness of the unintended impacts associated with some agricultural production practices has led to heightened societal expectations for improved environmental, community, labor, and animal welfare standards in agriculture. Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century assesses the scientific evidence for the strengths and weaknesses of different production, marketing, and policy approaches for improving agricultural sustainability and reducing the costs and unintended consequences of agricultural production. It discusses the principles underlying farming systems and practices that could improve the sustainability. It also explores how those lessons learned could be applied to agriculture in different regional and national settings, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. By presenting practices and how they could be combined in a systems approach to improving the sustainability of U.S. agriculture, this book can have a profound impact on the development and implementation of sustainable farming systems. Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century serves as a valuable resource for policy makers, farmers, experts in food production and agribusiness, and federal regulatory agencies.

Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate for the United States

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Natural gas, composed mostly of methane, is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels, emitting 25-50% less carbon dioxide than either oil or coal for each unit of energy produced. In recent years, natural gas supplied approximately 20-25% of all energy consumed in the United States. Methane hydrate is a potentially enormous and as yet untapped source of methane. The Department of Energy's Methane Hydrate Research and Development Program has been tasked since 2000 to implement and coordinate a national methane hydrate research effort to stimulate the development of knowledge and technology necessary for commercial production of methane from methane hydrate in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate for the United States evaluates the program's research projects and management processes since its congressional re-authorization in 2005, and presents recommendations for its future research and development initiatives.

Demographic Changes, a View from California: Implications for Framing Health Disparities

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

The IOM held a workshop on July 28, 2008, to examine strategies for discussing health disparities in ways that engage the public and motivate change. Speakers focused on health disparities in California, which continues to see dramatic demographic shifts.

CNS Clinical Trials: Suicidality And Data Collection - Workshop Summary

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that all clinical trials for drugs that affect the central nervous system--including psychiatric drugs--are assessed for whether that drug might cause suicidal ideation or behavior. The IOM's Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders hosted a meeting on June 26, 2009, to discuss the FDA's new policy and how to analyze best whether suicidal thoughts predict actual suicidal behavior in the near future.

Understanding Climate's Influence on Human Evolution

by National Research Council of the National Academies

The hominin fossil record documents a history of critical evolutionary events that have ultimately shaped and defined what it means to be human, including the origins of bipedalism; the emergence of our genus Homo; the first use of stone tools; increases in brain size; and the emergence of Homo sapiens, tools, and culture. The Earth's geological record suggests that some evolutionary events were coincident with substantial changes in African and Eurasian climate, raising the possibility that critical junctures in human evolution and behavioral development may have been affected by the environmental characteristics of the areas where hominins evolved. Understanding Climate's Change on Human Evolution explores the opportunities of using scientific research to improve our understanding of how climate may have helped shape our species. Improved climate records for specific regions will be required before it is possible to evaluate how critical resources for hominins, especially water and vegetation, would have been distributed on the landscape during key intervals of hominin history. Existing records contain substantial temporal gaps. The book's initiatives are presented in two major research themes: first, determining the impacts of climate change and climate variability on human evolution and dispersal; and second, integrating climate modeling, environmental records, and biotic responses. Understanding Climate's Change on Human Evolution suggests a new scientific program for international climate and human evolution studies that involve an exploration initiative to locate new fossil sites and to broaden the geographic and temporal sampling of the fossil and archeological record; a comprehensive and integrative scientific drilling program in lakes, lake bed outcrops, and ocean basins surrounding the regions where hominins evolved and a major investment in climate modeling experiments for key time intervals and regions that are critical to understanding human evolution.

Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense

by National Research Council of the National Academies

In the military, information technology (IT) has enabled profound advances in weapons systems and the management and operation of the defense enterprise. A significant portion of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget is spent on capabilities acquired as commercial IT commodities, developmental IT systems that support a broad range of warfighting and functional applications, and IT components embedded in weapons systems. The ability of the DOD and its industrial partners to harness and apply IT for warfighting, command and control and communications, logistics, and transportation has contributed enormously to fielding the world's best defense force. However, despite the DOD's decades of success in leveraging IT across the defense enterprise, the acquisition of IT systems continues to be burdened with serious problems. To address these issues, the National Research Council assembled a group of IT systems acquisition and T&E experts, commercial software developers, software engineers, computer scientists and other academic researchers. The group evaluated applicable legislative requirements, examined the processes and capabilities of the commercial IT sector, analyzed DOD's concepts for systems engineering and testing in virtual environments, and examined the DOD acquisition environment. The present volume summarizes this analysis and also includes recommendations on how to improve the acquisition, systems engineering, and T&E processes to achieve the DOD's network-centric goals.

A Population-Based Policy and Systems Change Approach to Prevent and Control Hypertension

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

Hypertension is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, affecting nearly one in three Americans. It is prevalent in adults and endemic in the older adult population. Hypertension is a major contributor to cardiovascular morbidity and disability. Although there is a simple test to diagnose hypertension and relatively inexpensive drugs to treat it, the disease is often undiagnosed and uncontrolled. A Population-Based Policy and Systems Change Approach to the Prevention and Control Hypertension identifies a small set of high-priority areas in which public health officials can focus their efforts to accelerate progress in hypertension reduction and control. It offers several recommendations that embody a population-based approach grounded in the principles of measurement, system change, and accountability. The recommendations are designed to shift current hypertension reduction strategies from an individual-based approach to a population-based approach. They are also designed to improve the quality of care provided to individuals with hypertension and to strengthen the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's leadership in seeking a reduction in the sodium intake in the American diet to meet dietary guidelines. The book is an important resource for federal public health officials and organizations, especially the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as medical professionals and community health workers.

Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

Reducing the intake of sodium is an important public health goal for Americans. Since the 1970s, an array of public health interventions and national dietary guidelines has sought to reduce sodium intake. However, the U.S. population still consumes more sodium than is recommended, placing individuals at risk for diseases related to elevated blood pressure.Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States evaluates and makes recommendations about strategies that could be implemented to reduce dietary sodium intake to levels recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The book reviews past and ongoing efforts to reduce the sodium content of the food supply and to motivate consumers to change behavior. Based on past lessons learned, the book makes recommendations for future initiatives. It is an excellent resource for federal and state public health officials, the processed food and food service industries, health care professionals, consumer advocacy groups, and academic researchers.

Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), once thought to be confined primarily to industrialized nations, has emerged as a major health threat in developing countries. Cardiovascular disease now accounts for nearly 30 percent of deaths in low and middle income countries each year, and is accompanied by significant economic repercussions. Yet most governments, global health institutions, and development agencies have largely overlooked CVD as they have invested in health in developing countries. Recognizing the gap between the compelling evidence of the global CVD burden and the investment needed to prevent and control CVD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) turned to the IOM for advice on how to catalyze change. In this report, the IOM recommends that the NHLBI, development agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and governments work toward two essential goals: creating environments that promote heart healthy lifestyle choices and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and building public health infrastructure and health systems with the capacity to implement programs that will effectively detect and reduce risk and manage CVD. To meet these goals, the IOM recommends several steps, including improving cooperation and collaboration; implementing effective and feasible strategies; and informing efforts through research and health surveillance. Without better efforts to promote cardiovascular health, global health as a whole will be undermined.

A Database for a Changing Economy: Review of the Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Information about the characteristics of jobs and the individuals who fill them is valuable for career guidance, reemployment counseling, workforce development, human resource management, and other purposes. To meet these needs, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in 1998 launched the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which consists of a content model--a framework for organizing occupational data--and an electronic database. The O*NET content model includes hundreds of descriptors of work and workers organized into domains, such as skills, knowledge, and work activities. Data are collected using a classification system that organizes job titles into 1,102 occupations. The National Center for O*NET Development (the O*NET Center) continually collects data related to these occupations. In 2008, DOL requested the National Academies to review O*NET and consider its future directions. In response, the present volume inventories and evaluates the uses of O*NET; explores the linkage of O*NET with the Standard Occupational Classification System and other data sets; and identifies ways to improve O*NET, particularly in the areas of cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and currency.

Provision of Mental Health Counseling Services Under Tricare

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

In this book, the IOM makes recommendations for permitting independent practice for mental health counselors treating patients within TRICARE--the DOD's health care benefits program. This would change current policy, which requires all counselors to practice under a physician's supervision without regard to their education, training, licensure or experience.

Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Preliminary Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and their Families

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

Nearly 1.9 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since October 2001. Many service members and veterans face serious challenges in readjusting to normal life after returning home. This initial book presents findings on the most critical challenges, and lays out the blueprint for the second phase of the study to determine how best to meet the needs of returning troops and their families.

Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Traditionally, the natural sciences have been divided into two branches: the biological sciences and the physical sciences. Today, an increasing number of scientists are addressing problems lying at the intersection of the two. These problems are most often biological in nature, but examining them through the lens of the physical sciences can yield exciting results and opportunities. For example, one area producing effective cross-discipline research opportunities centers on the dynamics of systems. Equilibrium, multistability, and stochastic behavior--concepts familiar to physicists and chemists--are now being used to tackle issues associated with living systems such as adaptation, feedback, and emergent behavior. Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences discusses how some of the most important scientific and societal challenges can be addressed, at least in part, by collaborative research that lies at the intersection of traditional disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and physics. This book describes how some of the mysteries of the biological world are being addressed using tools and techniques developed in the physical sciences, and identifies five areas of potentially transformative research. Work in these areas would have significant impact in both research and society at large by expanding our understanding of the physical world and by revealing new opportunities for advancing public health, technology, and stewardship of the environment. This book recommends several ways to accelerate such cross-discipline research. Many of these recommendations are directed toward those administering the faculties and resources of our great research institutions--and the stewards of our research funders, making this book an excellent resource for academic and research institutions, scientists, universities, and federal and private funding agencies.

Choosing the Nation's Fiscal Future

by National Research Council National Academy of Public Administration

A mismatch between the federal government's revenues and spending, now and in the foreseeable future, requires heavy borrowing, leading to a large and increasing federal debt. That increasing debt raises a serious challenge to all of the goals that various people expect their government to pursue. It also raises questions about the nation's future wealth and whether too much debt could lead to higher interest rates and even to loss of confidence in the nation's long-term ability and commitment to honor its obligations. Many analysts have concluded that the trajectory of the federal budget set by current policies cannot be sustained. In light of these projections, Choosing the Nation's Fiscal Future assesses the options and possibilities for a sustainable federal budget. This comprehensive book considers a range of policy changes that could help put the budget on a sustainable path: reforms to reduce the rate of growth in spending for Medicare and Medicaid; options to reduce the growth rate of Social Security benefits or raise payroll taxes; and changes in many other government spending programs and tax policies. The book also examines how the federal budget process could be revised to be more far sighted and to hold leaders accountable for responsible stewardship of the nation's fiscal future. Choosing the Nation's Fiscal Future will provide readers with a practical framework to assess budget proposals for their consistency with long-term fiscal stability. It will help them assess what policy changes they want, consistent with their own values and their views of the proper role of the government and within the constraints of a responsible national budget. It will show how the perhaps difficult but possible policy changes could be combined to produce a wide range of budget scenarios to bring revenues and spending into alignment for the long term. This book will be uniquely valuable to everyone concerned about the current and projected fiscal health of the nation.

Expanding Biofuel Production and the Transition to Advanced Biofuels: Lessons for Sustainability from the Upper Midwest

by National Research Council of the National Academies

While energy prices, energy security, and climate change are front and center in the national media, these issues are often framed to the exclusion of the broader issue of sustainability--ensuring that the production and use of biofuels do not compromise the needs of future generations by recognizing the need to protect life-support systems, promote economic growth, and improve societal welfare. Thus, it is important to understand the effects of biofuel production and use on water quality and quantity, soils, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, public health, and the economic viability of rural communities.

The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Since genetically engineered (GE) crops were introduced in 1996, their use in the United States has grown rapidly, accounting for 80-90 percent of soybean, corn, and cotton acreage in 2009. To date, crops with traits that provide resistance to some herbicides and to specific insect pests have benefited adopting farmers by reducing crop losses to insect damage, by increasing flexibility in time management, and by facilitating the use of more environmentally friendly pesticides and tillage practices. However, excessive reliance on a single technology combined with a lack of diverse farming practices could undermine the economic and environmental gains from these GE crops. Other challenges could hinder the application of the technology to a broader spectrum of crops and uses. Several reports from the National Research Council have addressed the effects of GE crops on the environment and on human health. However, The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States is the first comprehensive assessment of the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the GE-crop revolution on U.S. farms. It addresses how GE crops have affected U.S. farmers, both adopters and nonadopters of the technology, their incomes, agronomic practices, production decisions, environmental resources, and personal well-being. The book offers several new findings and four recommendations that could be useful to farmers, industry, science organizations, policy makers, and others in government agencies.

Ecosystem Concepts for Sustainable Bivalve Mariculture

by National Research Council of the National Academies

U.S. mariculture production of bivalve molluscs-those cultivated in the marine environment-has roughly doubled over the last 25 years. Although mariculture operations may expand the production of seafood without additional exploitation of wild populations, they still depend upon and affect natural ecosystems and ecosystem services. Every additional animal has an incremental effect arising from food extraction and waste excretion. Increasing domestic seafood production in the United States in an environmentally and socially responsible way will likely require the use of policy tools, such as best management practices (BMPs) and performance standards. BMPs represent one approach to protecting against undesirable consequences of mariculture. An alternative approach to voluntary or mandatory BMPs is the establishment of performance standards for mariculture. Variability in environmental conditions makes it difficult to develop BMPs that are sufficiently flexible and adaptable to protect ecosystem integrity across a broad range of locations and conditions. An alternative that measures performance in sustaining key indicators of ecosystem state and function may be more effective. Because BMPs address mariculture methods rather than monitoring actual ecosystem responses, they do not guarantee that detrimental ecosystem impacts will be controlled or that unacceptable impact will be avoided. Ecosystem Concepts for Sustainable Bivalve Mariculture finds that while performance standards can be applied for some broad ecosystem indicators, BMPs may be more appropriate for addressing parameters that change from site to site, such as the species being cultured, different culture methods, and various environmental conditions. This book takes an in-depth look at the environmental, social, and economic issues to present recommendations for sustainable bivalve mariculture.

Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Radio observations of the cosmos are gathered by geoscientists using complex earth-orbiting satellites and ground-based equipment, and by radio astronomers using large ground-based radio telescopes. Signals from natural radio emissions are extremely weak, and the equipment used to measure them is becoming ever-more sophisticated and sensitive. The radio spectrum is also being used by radiating, or "active," services, ranging from aircraft radars to rapidly expanding consumer services such as cellular telephones and wireless internet. These valuable active services transmit radio waves and thereby potentially interfere with the receive-only, or "passive," scientific services. Transmitters for the active services create an artificial "electronic fog" which can cause confusion, and, in severe cases, totally blinds the passive receivers. Both the active and the passive services are increasing their use of the spectrum, and so the potential for interference, already strong, is also increasing. This book addresses the tension between the active services' demand for greater spectrum use and the passive users' need for quiet spectrum. The included recommendations provide a pathway for putting in place the regulatory mechanisms and associated supporting research activities necessary to meet the demands of both users.

The Domestic and International Impacts of the 2009-H1N1 Influenza a Pandemic: Global Challenges, Global Solutions - Workshop Summary

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

In March and early April 2009, a new, swine-origin 2009-H1N1 influenza A virus emerged in Mexico and the United States. During the first few weeks of surveillance, the virus spread by human-to-human transmission worldwide to over 30 countries. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. By October 30, 2009, the H1N1 influenza A had spread to 191 countries and resulted in 5,700 fatalities. A national emergency was declared in the United States and the swine flu joined SARS and the avian flu as pandemics of the 21st century. Vaccination is currently available, but in limited supply, and with a 60 percent effectiveness rate against the virus. The story of how this new influenza virus spread out of Mexico to other parts of North America and then on to Europe, the Far East, and now Australia and the Pacific Rim countries has its origins in the global interconnectedness of travel, trade, and tourism. Given the rapid spread of the virus, the international scientific, public health, security, and policy communities had to mobilize quickly to characterize this unique virus and address its potential effects. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control have played critical roles in the surveillance, detection and responses to the H1N1 virus. The Domestic and International Impacts of the 2009-H1N1 Influenza A Pandemic: Global Challenges, Global Solutions aimed to examine the evolutionary origins of the H1N1 virus and evaluate its potential public health and socioeconomic consequences, while monitoring and mitigating the impact of a fast-moving pandemic. The rapporteurs for this workshop reported on the need for increased and geographically robust global influenza vaccine production capacities; enhanced and sustained interpandemic demand for seasonal influenza vaccines; clear "triggers" for pandemic alert levels; and accelerated research collaboration on new vaccine manufacturing techniques. This book will be an essential guide for healthcare professionals, policymakers, drug manufacturers and investigators.

Medical Surge Capacity: Workshop Summary

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

During natural disasters, disease pandemics, terrorist attacks, and other public health emergencies, the health system must be prepared to accommodate a surge in the number of individuals seeking medical help. For the health community, a primary concern is how to provide care to individuals during such high demand, when the health system's resources are exhausted and there are more patients than the system can accommodate. The IOM's Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events held a workshop June 10-11, 2009, to assess the capability of and tools available to federal, state, and local governments to respond to a medical surge. In addition, participants discussed strategies for the public and private sectors to improve preparedness for such a surge. The workshop brought together leaders in the medical and public health preparedness fields, including policy makers from federal agencies and state and local public health departments; providers from the health care community; and health care and hospital administrators. This document summarizes the workshop.

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Despite the many benefits of energy, most of which are reflected in energy market prices, the production, distribution, and use of energy causes negative effects. Many of these negative effects are not reflected in energy market prices. When market failures like this occur, there may be a case for government interventions in the form of regulations, taxes, fees, tradable permits, or other instruments that will motivate recognition of these external or hidden costs. The Hidden Costs of Energy defines and evaluates key external costs and benefits that are associated with the production, distribution, and use of energy, but are not reflected in market prices. The damage estimates presented are substantial and reflect damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation, motor vehicle transportation, and heat generation. The book also considers other effects not quantified in dollar amounts, such as damages from climate change, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security. While not a comprehensive guide to policy, this analysis indicates that major initiatives to further reduce other emissions, improve energy efficiency, or shift to a cleaner electricity generating mix could substantially reduce the damages of external effects. A first step in minimizing the adverse consequences of new energy technologies is to better understand these external effects and damages. The Hidden Costs of Energy will therefore be a vital informational tool for government policy makers, scientists, and economists in even the earliest stages of research and development on energy technologies.

Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C

by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

The global epidemic of hepatitis B and C is a serious public health problem. Hepatitis B and C are the major causes of chronic liver disease and liver cancer in the world. In the next 10 years, 150,000 people in the United States will die from liver disease or liver cancer associated with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Today, between 800,000 and 1.4 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B and between 2.7 and 3.9 million have chronic hepatitis C. People most at risk for hepatitis B and C often are the least likely to have access to medical services. Reducing the rates of illness and death associated with these diseases will require greater awareness and knowledge among health care workers, improved identification of at-risk people, and improved access to medical care. Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease. Although federal public health officials recommend that all newborns, children, and at-risk adults receive the vaccine, about 46,000 new acute cases of the HBV infection emerge each year, including 1,000 in infants who acquire the infection during birth from their HBV-positive mothers. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, which is transmitted by direct exposure to infectious blood. Hepatitis and Liver Cancer identifies missed opportunities related to the prevention and control of HBV and HCV infections. The book presents ways to reduce the numbers of new HBV and HCV infections and the morbidity and mortality related to chronic viral hepatitis. It identifies priorities for research, policy, and action geared toward federal, state, and local public health officials, stakeholder, and advocacy groups and professional organizations.

Improving State Voter Registration Databases: Final Report

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Improving State Voter Registration Databases outlines several actions that are needed to help make voter registration databases capable of sharing information within state agencies and across state lines. These include short-term changes to improve education, dissemination of information, and administrative processes, and long-term changes to make improvements in data collection and entry, matching procedures, and ensure privacy and security.

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil fuels. The global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the dominant greenhouse gas of concern, is increasing by roughly two parts per million per year, and the United States is currently the second-largest contributor to global emissions behind China. Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change , part of the congressionally requested America's Climate Choices suite of studies, focuses on the role of the United States in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The book concludes that in order to ensure that all levels of government, the private sector, and millions of households and individuals are contributing to shared national goals, the United States should establish a "budget" that sets a limit on total domestic greenhouse emissions from 2010-2050. Meeting such a budget would require a major departure from business as usual in the way the nation produces and uses energy-and that the nation act now to aggressively deploy all available energy efficiencies and less carbon-intensive technologies and to develop new ones. With no financial incentives or regulatory pressure, the nation will continue to rely upon and "lock in" carbon-intensive technologies and systems unless a carbon pricing system is established-either cap-and-trade, a system of taxing emissions, or a combination of the two. Complementary policies are also needed to accelerate progress in key areas: developing more efficient, less carbon-intense energy sources in electricity and transportation; advancing full-scale development of new-generation nuclear power, carbon capture, and storage systems; and amending emissions-intensive energy infrastructure. Research and development of new technologies that could help reduce emissions more cost effectively than current options is also strongly recommended.

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Global climate change is one of America's most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity--especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change--is affecting global average temperatures, snow and ice cover, sea-level, ocean acidity, growing seasons and precipitation patterns, ecosystems, and human health. Climate-related decisions are being carried out by almost every agency of the federal government, as well as many state and local government leaders and agencies, businesses and individual citizens. Decision makers must contend with the availability and quality of information, the efficacy of proposed solutions, the unanticipated consequences resulting from decisions, the challenge of implementing chosen actions, and must consider how to sustain the action over time and respond to new information. Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change, a volume in the America's Climate Choices series, describes and assesses different activities, products, strategies, and tools for informing decision makers about climate change and helping them plan and execute effective, integrated responses. It discusses who is making decisions (on the local, state, and national levels), who should be providing information to make decisions, and how that information should be provided. It covers all levels of decision making, including international, state, and individual decision making. While most existing research has focused on the physical aspect of climate change, Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change employs theory and case study to describe the efforts undertaken so far, and to guide the development of future decision-making resources. Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change offers much-needed guidance to those creating public policy and assists in implementing that policy. The information presented in this book will be invaluable to the research community, especially social scientists studying climate change; practitioners of decision-making assistance, including advocacy organizations, non-profits, and government agencies; and college-level teachers and students.

Showing 41,001 through 41,025 of 70,772 results

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