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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Understanding the Mechanisms of Climate Change

Title: Understanding the Mechanisms of Climate Change

The science of climate change is a contentious issue. Regardless of the scientific data, in the political arena questions remain over whether the earth's temperature is rising, and, if so, how much and whether any human activities are a contributing cause. There is no “climate change science and technology” line item in the budget; relevant research and development (R&D) occurs throughout the federal government. Overall, billions are invested in Climate Change Science and Technology, and federal and non-federal R&D are ongoing on the tracking of climate data, on potential causes and effects, the possible role of human activities in inducing climate change, and on technologies to address possible effects. At issue is whether the various agencies’ current scientific and technological climate change efforts are sufficient, insufficient, or excessive; effectively prioritized or misdirected; or unnecessary.

Congress will face decisions to continue, modify, or withdraw funding for research and development activities, which range from scientific research on climate change, to development and demonstration of relevant technologies, such as low-carbon alternative energy sources. The 112th Congress may also conduct oversight hearings that include questions about the  sufficiency and objectivity of the scientific basis for climate change policies and particularly regarding the influence of human-caused sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Congressional decisions regarding climate change science and technology would have consequences also for energy, environment, agriculture, and other associated policy arenas.

Date of Compendium: October 2, 2011
Number of Pages: 173
Order Number: IS31021
Price: $39.95 (Subscribers to Congressional Research Report newsletter pay $19.97)