Squaring off

Published: Sunday 15 April 2001

the infrastructure for coordinating research about various worldwide environmental changes must be restructured for taking correct decisions on issues such as greenhouse gas emission policies. This was stated in a report by the National Research Council (nrc), which aims to influence president George Bush's administration. The report -- The Science of Regional and Global Change: Putting Knowledge to Work -- states that poor coordination within and between agencies such as the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (nasa) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa) has hindered politicians and researchers from making full use of the output from various research programmes.

Moreover, critical challenges such as accurate predictions on a global scale require improved technical capabilities and global monitoring systems, which are beyond the capacity of individual agencies. The report proposes that global research should be coordinated through a new, centralised government body. This would help policymakers take right decisions. The us Global Change Research Programme could be upgraded to take care of this task, the report suggested.

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