A Huge Hole in the Climate Change Science

A terribly important, albeit difficult, issue is not being addressed. An issue with profound public policy implications. Despite a staggering $1.8 billion a year U.S. Global Change Research Program budget, three fundamental questions are being ducked:

1. How much has the increase in carbon dioxide levels contributed to feeding the world so far?
2. What is it likely to contribute in future?
3. How much of this benefit will be lost if the carbon dioxide increase is slowed or halted?

The entire focus of the USGCRP budget is on the downside of carbon dioxide increase. The upside, greening, and the risk of loosing this possibly enormous benefit, is being ignored by the scientific community. As a result the policy community is almost completely ignorant of the issue.

The USDA Should Lead Greening Research, but it is doing nothing.

The U.S. Global Change Research Budget is summarized in Appendix B of Our Changing Planet, the USGCRP program document. It is not a simple budget. Here is the introduction to appendix B:

FY97-FY99 USGCRP Budget by Agency and Program

Appendix B includes budgets for programs designated by participating agencies for inclusion in the USGCRP. The budget pages for individual agencies that follow include a listing of these programs, as well as a general description of each agency's "Areas of Global Change Research." For each agency, a "FY99 Program Highlights" section briefly outlines some of the key USGCRP-related activities proposed for the coming year. In addition, the agencies conduct a broad range of "Related Research," as indicated, funding for which is not included as part of the USGCRP budget because the research is conducted primarily for other purposes.

The resources allocated to specific programs within agencies as reflected in these tables for FY98 appropriated funds and the FY99 budget request are estimates only, and are subject to change based on decisions on scientific and programmatic priorities among USGCRP agencies and their advisory bodies and on the input of the national and international scientific communities.

Each agency budget also includes a "Mapping of Budget Request to Appropriations Legislation." The entry for each department or agency points to the location (or locations) in the various Appropriations bills (and, in some cases, Appropriations Committee reports) of funding for USGCRP activities. Note that it is common for global change research to be funded within Appropriations accounts that also include funding for other activities, so that Appropriations bills and committee reports do not necessarily designate funding specifically for global change research. Thus, the actual funding level for global change research activities must be determined, in part, by decisions within agencies about how to allocate appropriated funds. It should also be noted that global change research activities are funded by seven different Appropriations bills, as well as by a varying number of Budget Authorization bills. Thus, the relationship between the USGCRP budget and the Appropriations process is complex and not easily summarized.

Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Department of the Interior
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
Smithsonian Institution

Table of Contents

Carbon Dioxide -- The Miracle of Food.

Introduction to the Greening Theory.

The Green Revolution: feeding the global population.

Technology and the Green Revolution.

Government Policy Toward Carbon Dioxide: why is it negative?

A Huge Hole in the Climate Change Science.

The USDA Should Lead Greening Research, but it is doing nothing.

Outline of a Greening Effect Benefit and Risk Assessment.