The goal of the Department of Energy (DOE) Carbon Dioxide Research Program is to identify possible policy options for government action in response to effects of increased CO2. The achievement of this goal requires a significant increase in our scientific knowledge of the atmosphere, the biosphere, the oceans, and the cryosphere—their interactions and the effects that increasing atmospheric CO2 and other trace gases will have on them. To identify and specify valid choices, a program of directed research is required. The research areas include:

  • Projection of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations

  • Estimation of CO2-induced global/regional climate changes

  • Estimation of crop and ecosystem response to CO2-induced changes

  • Estimation of the effect of CO2-induced climate changes on sea level, fisheries, and human health.

This paper describes the present DOE plan to address the questions related to the global and regional rate of CO2-induced climate change. The objective of the plan is to define the key questions in such a way that research is directed at experiments where answers are needed rather than at experiments where answers can be easily obtained. Only through this kind of focus can we expect to provide the climate-change estimates required for the policy process.

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Footnotes

1 Program manager, Climate Change, Carbon Dioxide Research Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20545.

2 Director, Carbon Dioxide Research Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20545.