oversight

Global Warming: Administration Approach Cautious Pending Validation of Threat

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-01-08.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

          _          “~
                      .._- _.._.
.Janu ary     1990
                                   GLOBAL WARMING
                                   Administration
                                   Approach Cautious
                                   Pending Validation of
                                   Threat




(;A()/   NSIAI)-!w~i:l
    United States
    General Accounting Office
    Washington, D.C. 20548

    National Security and
    International Affairs Division

    H-236 128
I   January 8, 1990
/
,   The IIonorable John D. Dingell
    Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight
       and Investigations
I   Committee on Energy and Commerce
,   Ilouse of Representatives

    Dear Mr. Chairman:

    This report discusses federal government leadership, coordination, and international
    cooperation in developing a national policy on and strategy for obtaining a unified
    international response to the perceived problem of global climate change. As you requested,
    we examined the extent and adequacy of federal agency coordination, effectiveness of U.S.
    participation in international activities, and the status of federal agency actions required to
    address congressional concerns.

    As arranged with your Office, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no
    !‘urthcr distribution of this report until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time, we
    will send copies to interested parties and make copies available to others upon request.

    This report was prepared under the general direction of Nancy R. Kingsbury, Director,
    Foreign Economic Assistance Issues. Other major contributors are listed in appendix III.

    Sincerely yours,




    Frank C. Conahan
    Assistant Comptroller General
EfxecutiveSummary


               The earth appears to be getting warmer, but scientists are uncertain
Piurpose       about the rate and extent of the warming. They believe that global
               warming is primarily attributable to increased “greenhouse” gas concen-
               trations in the atmosphere. Although scientists do not know what the
               global and regional effects will be if this theory is correct, they antici-
               pate that climate change will present unprecedented economic and polit-
               ical challenges.

               In response to a request by the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Over-
               sight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce,
               GAO examined the government’s activities related to development of a
               coordinated national policy, determination of agency responsibilities,
               and participation in research and planning aimed at improving the
               understanding of and encouraging an international response to actual
               and potential global climate change.


               Mounting scientific evidence indicates that man-made pollution resulting
fiackground    from release of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases into the atmo-
               sphere may be producing a long-term and substantial increase in the
               earth’s surface temperature. The surface is warmed because gases
               released into the atmosphere are transparent to incoming solar rays, but
               trap outgoing thermal radiation through a process known as the “green-
               house effect.” Scientists attribute an observed global temperature
               increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century to an increase of
               “greenhouse” gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They predict that,
               if continued, the earth’s surface will probably be warmed by another 3
               to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the next century. Further, they
               warn that such a magnitude of global warming would have serious envi-
               ronmental and economic consequences.

               The build-up of “greenhouse” gas emissions in the atmosphere is pri-
               marily a global energy issue. Carbon dioxide, mainly generated by con-
               sumption of energy derived from fossil fuels, is responsible for an
               estimated one-half of current emissions, World energy use, led by the
               United States, is expected to double the atmospheric concentration of
               carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse” gases within the next half-cen-
               tury. There is general consensus that ways must be found to balance the
               economic and industrial growth of countries in various stages of devel-
               opment with improving and protecting the environment.
           Y




               Page 2                                         GAO/NSLAD-90-63   Global Warming
                          Executive   Summary




-- .-_....
                          Recognizing the importance of U.S. leadership in achieving a viable
                          global climate change policy, the Congress enacted the 1987 Global Cli-
                          mate Protection Act (P-L. lOO-204), which sets goals and agency respon-
                          sibilities for developing a national policy and encouraging international
                          cooperation.


                          The administration has not as yet established national policy, defined
Res Its in Brief          federal agency roles and interagency relationships, or provided ade-
                          quate guidance to agencies to effectively address the global warming
                          issue. In light of considerable uncertainty that exists concerning the
                          reality and timing of the threat posed by global warming, administration
                          policy thus far has focused on conducting scientific research needed to
                          reduce this uncertainty and assuming a leading international role in for-
                          mulating policy responses aimed at limiting or adapting to global climate
                          change. Although the United States has placed itself in strong position
                          to assert international leadership and to foster cooperation on this issue,
                          its early approach has been to proceed cautiously and defer specific new
                          commitments until more is known about the validity and consequences
                          of global warming.



GAO’s Analysis

National Policy Not       The administration has not established a coordinated national policy to
Established               guide federal agency efforts related to global climate change. The Con-
                          gress directed the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and pro-
                          pose such a policy, but the Agency’s efforts were delayed pending
                          further discussions and clarification of agency roles and responsibilities.
                          The administration has further taken the position that action on the
                          global warming threat should not wait until the scientific uncertainties
                          have been resolved; rather, its strategy has focused on steps that may
                          alleviate the threat and are justified on other considerations-such    as
                          reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency and reforestation.


Agency Responsibilities   The administration has not tasked any agency with providing overall
Not Defined   y           policy direction or leadership, nor has any agency acted as the adminis-
                          tration’s voice on global climate change. Lacking executive guidance and
                          because of limited focus and oversight by the Office of Management and
                          Hudgct on this issue until recently, agencies have determined their own


                          Page 3                                         GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                              Executive   Summary




                              policies and research priorities. The Congress created institutional struc-
                              tures such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Coun-
                              cil on Environmental Quality to advise and assist in formulating national
                              environmental policy and the National Climate Program Office to man-
                              age climate activities. However, it appears that low funding, inadequate
                              staff, and unclear relationships with other agencies have reduced their
                              effectiveness.

                              Interagency coordination of climate change activity occurred through
                              mechanisms that were established to address the national climate pro-
                              gram, U.S. global change research, and U.S. participation in the Intcr-
                              governmental Panel on Climate Change, the principal international
                              forum addressing global warming. Their objectives differ but some over-
                              lap occurs because of commonality in their functional responsibility and
                              constituency.

.-_* ..-.-
Strong International   Role   The United States assumed a key leadership role in the international
Partly Realized               arena through chairmanship of the U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on
                              Climate Change response strategies working group and by providing
                              meaningful resources for research and cooperation. IIowever, despite
                              giving rise to expectations among other nations that it was giving high
                              priority and was ready to act on the global warming issue, the IJnited
                              States so far has emphasized the need for continued further study
                              rather than commit too early to specific targets or timetables that could
                              result in unwarranted actions to protect the environment.

                              International environmental officials that we contacted were generally
                              pleased with the initial indications of US. support. However, they were
                              uncertain about the authority of spokespersons and consistency of I J.S.
                              positions at international meetings, the identification of proper focal
                              points for information and funding, and the adequacy of coordination
                              mechanisms.

                                                                                                        -.
                              This report provides information on the development of a coordinated
Recommendations               national strategy and international cooperation for addressing global cli-
                              mate change. GAOmakes no recommendations,

             .
                              As requested, GAOdid not seek formal comments on its report, but did
Agency Comments               discuss the results of its findings with responsible agency officials in



                              Page 4                                         GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
Executive   Summary




Washington, Geneva, and Nairobi to verify the accuracy of the data con-
tained in the report.




Page 6                                      GAO/NSIAD-90-M   Global Warming
contents


E?ecutive Summary                                                                                        2
  I
Chapter 1                                                                                                8
Introduction            Background
                        Current Administration Approach
                                                                                                     10
                                                                                                     13
                        Congressional Concern                                                        14
                        Participation by Nongovernmental Organizations                               14
                        Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                           14

Ck,apter 2                                                                                           16
D&elopment of U.S.      National Policy and Strategy Not Yet Established
                        National Policy Advisory and Climate Program Functions
                                                                                                     16
                                                                                                     19
Pollicy on Global            Not Fully Discharged
Climate Change          Interagency Coordination for Climate Change Activity                         22
                        Conclusions                                                                  25

Chapter 3                                                                                           26
U.S. Participation in   Agency Roles and Responsibilities
                        Multilateral Activities
                                                                                                    26
                                                                                                    27
International Climate   1J.S.Participation in the IPCC                                              28
Change Activities       IJ.S. Participation in Bilateral Climate Change Programs                    33
                        Reporting on and Promoting Global Climate Protection                        33
                        Conclusions                                                                 34

Appendixes              Appendix I: Brief Chronology of Key Events Affecting                        36
                            Global Climate Change
                        Appendix II: Views of Nongovernmental Policy Analysis                       37
                            and Advisory Organizations
                        Appendix III: Major Contributors to This Report                             44

Figures                 Figure 1.1: The Greenhouse Effect                                             9
                        Figure 1.2: Contribution of Greenhouse Gases                                 11
                        Figure 1.3: Contributors to Greenhouse Gases                                 12
                        Figure 2.1: Executive Branch Organizations Principally                       18
                             Involved in Global Climate Change




                        Page 6                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
Contents




Abbreviations

           Agency for International Development
           Council on Environmental Quality
           Committee on Earth Sciences
           Chlorofluorocarbon
           Department of Energy
           Environmental Protection Agency
           Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and
               Technology
GAO        General Accounting Office
ICSIJ      International Council of Scientific Unions
II’CC      Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
NASA       National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NW0        National Climate Program Office
NCPPB      National Climate Program Policy Board
NGO        Nongovernment Organization
NOAA       National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NSF        National Science Foundation
OES        Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and
               Scientific Affairs
OMB        Office of Management and Budget
OSTP       Office of Science and Technology Policy
UNEP       United Nations Environment Program
WMO        World Meteorological Organization


Page 7                                        GAO/NSIAD-9083   Global Warming
Ch$q)tCr1   -
I&roduction


                 The phenomenon known as global warming by the “greenhouse effect”
                 received substantial attention during the last year. Recent atmospheric
                events, such as the discovery of ozone “holes” over the polar caps, rec-
                ord hot weather in the 198Os, and extreme heat waves, floods, and
                droughts occurring in 1988, focused increased public attention on the
                impact that human activity and natural events may have on the earth’s
                climate. This impact, or global climate change, refers to the process
                through which complex natural and human-induced chemicals affect the
                earth’s surface temperature and precipitation patterns. Mounting cvi-
                dence indicates that human-induced pollution resulting from the release
                of carbon dioxide and other gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (WCS),
                methane, nitrous oxides, and other pollutants into the atmosphere may
                be producing a long-term and substantial increase in the cart,h’s average
                temperature. Simply stated, gases released into the atmosphere are
                transparent to incoming solar rays but they partially block or absorb
                heat radiating from the earth, and redirect the heat back to t;hc earth,
                thus warming its surface. (See fig. 1.1.)
                                                Chapter 1
                                                Introduction




Figure 1.1: The Greenhouse    Effect




source: Oceanus Magazine, published by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
                 ..--____



                                               Page 9                          GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
               Chapter 1
               Introduction




               The general scientific consensus is that atmospheric greenhouse gas con-
kkground       centrations are increasing and that the result will be a change in climate.
               This consensus is partly supported by an observed average global tem-
               perature increase of about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century.
               Scientists consider such temperature change to be a substantial altera-
               tion Further, because a significant time lag can exist between the gas
               emissions and their consequences, the effects of past emissions may not
               yet be fully realized.

               Considerable scientific uncertainty remains about what global and
               regional effects may occur if the global warming threat proves to be
               real. The National Academy of Sciences predicted that the increasing
               concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will, if continued,
               probably result in a warming of the earth’s surface temperature of 3 to
               8 degrees Fahrenheit before the middle of the next century. However,
               other major earth system processes, such as the net cooling or warming
               effect of clouds and the absorption ability of oceans, are not well under-
               stood and may mitigate or intensify this effect.

               Also, many scientists question the ability of current models to predict
               future climatic effects, because models have not reliably explained past
               global observations, The observed average global temperature increase
               in the past century is generally consistent with (though slightly below)
               the theoretical predicted temperature increase attributable to increased
               greenhouse gas concentrations. Furthermore, the models cannot yet pre-
               dict regional changes with confidence.

               If global warming on the scale predicted by some scientists were to
               occur, the likely long-term effects would be a sea-level rise of 1 to 5 feet
               due to thermal expansion and melting of land-based ice-with obvious
               adverse consequences for coastal areas and estuaries-and shifts in
               rainfall patterns, making huge areas infertile or uninhabitable and
               touching off unprecedented population movements, Over the near term,
               climatologists believe that extreme temperature and rainfall patterns
               will become more frequent and perhaps more intense as greenhouse
               gases accumulate.

               Global warming is mainly a global energy policy issue. World energy
               production and use is the largest source of greenhouse gases. Atmos-
           Y
               pheric concentration of greenhouse gases is also significantly affected
               by CFCs,industrial processes, agricultural practices, and land use modifi-
               cation Scientists estimate that, at current levels of energy consumption,



               Page 10                                         GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
 .
        Chapter 1
        Introduction




        increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, resulting pri- ” ,‘(.
        marily from fossil fuel use and contributing approximately one-half of
        current emissions (see fig. 1.2) and its equivalent of other greenhouse
        gases may double within the next half-century.



Gases
             I                                    CFCs - 14%
                                                  Methane - 18%




                                                  co2 - 49%




        Source: Environmental Protection Agency


        As the world’s largest energy consumer, the United States is responsible
        for an estimated one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions (see fig. 1.3).
        Although substantial gains were made in U.S. energy efficiency since the
        early 1970s and the fraction of global contribution of U.S. fossil fuel
        emissions has declined, the United States is still a major contributor to
        greenhouse gases. While the United States accounts for about one-fourth
        of the world’s energy use, it produces only about half the gross national
        product per unit of energy input achieved by countries such as Brazil,
        France, *Japan, Sweden, and West Germany. The United States also pro-
        duces about one-third the world total of CFCS, the fastest growing and
        one of the more enduring greenhouse gases having greater heat-trapping
        capability than other gases.



        Page 11                                         GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
_..   ...I
                                           Chapter 1
                                           Introduction




Figuk 1.3: Contributors   to Greenhouse
Gase+
                                                      11                            USA-21%




                                                                                    Rest of world - 32%




                                                                                    4%
                                                                                    Japan - 4%




                                                                                    Brazil - 4%


                                                                                    China - 7%

                                                                                    European Economic Community - 14%
                                                                                    USSR - 14%
                                          Source: Environmental Protection Agency


                                          Climate change is clearly an international issue that will require global
                                          political solutions to balance the demands to improve and protect the
                                          environment with economic and industrial growth of countries in vari-
                                          ous stages of development. Because the United States is a major contrib-
                                          utor of greenhouse gases, U.S. social, economic, and political interests
                                          will be profoundly influenced by any set of internationally adopted
                                          measures. Accordingly, the Congress and the administration have
                                          expressed the need for U.S. leadership for the rest of the world.

                                          Recognizing the importance of U.S. leadership in international coopera-
                                          tion, the Congress enacted the Global Climate Protection Act of 1987
                                          (P.1,. 100-204) in December 1987. The act states that vigorous efforts
                                          are necessary to achieve international cooperation and that IJS. leader-
                                          ship will greatly enhance such cooperation. It also states that effective


                                          Page 12                                            GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                 Chapter 1
                 Introduction




                 leadership in the international arena depends on a coordinated national
                 policy and addresses the need for coordinating mechanisms to achieve
                 international cooperation to confront the global warming threat.

                 Because of uncertainties about the reality and timing of the threat posed
                 by global warming, many national and international research efforts are
                 underway to study the scope of the problem and its possible effects in
                 order to formulate appropriate policy responses. This report discusses
                 policy and coordination mechanisms and how they are working. A brief
                 chronology of key events affecting global climate change is provided in
                 appendix I.


                 The administration has pledged support for actions that address the
Cwfent           global climate change issue. The President stated in February 1989 that
Administration   international cooperation and global action were essential, and added
Apqroach         that 1J.S.leadership was needed to focus attention on this issue by the
                 highest levels of government worldwide. The President further outlined
                 policies that his administration would pursue, including sponsoring an
                 international conference on the environment, providing for increased
                 research to address the scientific uncertainties regarding global change,’
                 and defining the responsibilities and establishing effective coordination
                 mechanisms for the federal agencies and departments involved with this
                 issue. In March 1989, the President announced that the United States
                 was joining with other industrialized countries to amend the 1987 Mon-
                 treal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to expedite
                 phasing out, before the year 2000, the production and consumption of
                 CIX’S. While the President has made no similar commitment to control
                 carbon dioxide emissions, he directed the Secretary of Energy in July
                 1989 to develop a national energy strategy which will consider possible
                 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy
                 sources.

                 The IJnited States is also attempting to develop a realistic and effective,
                 internationally accepted global climate change strategy through a IJ.N.-
                 sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has
                 become the principal international forum for addressing this topic. The
                 IJnited States will host the next IPCC meeting in Washington, D.C. in Feb-
                 ruary 1990.

                 ‘Global change research constitutes a broad study of the full range of interrelated natural and
                 human-induced earth system processes, including climatic, volcanic, seismic, ecological, and biological
                 changes, of which global warming is an important element.



                 Page 13                                                          GAO/NSIAD-90-63      Global Warming
                            Chapter 1
                            Introduction




-’Cdngressional Concern
                            to global climate change. The proposals seek various approaches to (1)
                            improve the understanding of the causes and effects resulting from
                            human activity, (2) improve coordination of national scientific research
                            efforts, (3) reduce the generation of greenhouse gases, (4) foster interna-
                            tional cooperation, and (5) determine appropriate policy responses.
                            Ongoing debate and public interest indicates that global climate change
                            will continue to receive high priority in the current Congress.


                            Developing viable global climate change policies will depend not only on
P&ticipation by             the ability of governments to develop a common understanding and con-
Nbngovernmental             sensus among the domestic and international communities, but will
OGganizations               require the cooperation of nongovernment sectors as well. Nongovern-
                            mental organizations (NGO) represent many viewpoints, including the
                            perspectives of environmental/conservation    organizations, scientific
                            institutes, universities, and the business community, Efforts have been
                            made to integrate this wide spectrum of NGOparticipation into the public
                            policy process.

                            The Congress, federal agencies, and international organizations have
                            sought out the views of the nongovernment sector. During the current
                            Congress, many congressional committees received testimony on the
                            global greenhouse effect from speakers representing various U.S. policy
                            analyses and advisory NGOS.Administration officials have also
                            encouraged NGOinvolvement in the policy-making process, stressing the
                            important role that NGOScan play in developing climate change response
                            strategies and promoting their involvement in domestic and interna-
                            tional meetings, and in technical studies. The views of some of these
                            organizations are summarized in appendix II.


                            The Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House
Objectives, Scope,and       Committee on Energy and Commerce, asked us to examine the adequacy
Mkthodology                 of coordination and extent of participation of federal agencies in encour-
                            aging an international response to actual and potential global climate
                            change. In addition, we were asked to solicit views on the administra-
                            tion’s approach from various interest groups, such as industry associa-
                            tions and environmentalists, Our objectives were to determine
           w
                        l   who is responsible for providing overall policy direction and leadership;
                        l   whether appropriate roles for federal agencies have been determined;
                        l   how agency efforts are being coordinated;


                            Page 14                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
            Chapter 1
            Introduction




        l the status of efforts to implement the Global Climate Protection Act of
           1987; and
        . what U.S. actions have been taken to increase international understand-
          ing, participation, and responsiveness.

            To determine the federal government’s strategy and effectiveness in
            responding to the perceived threat of global climate change, we
            reviewed agency position papers and reports, studied enacted and pend-
            ing legislation, examined testimony and policy statements of nongovern-
            mental organizations (see app. II). We also interviewed officials at the
            following locations:

    . the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Departments of Commerce,
      Energy (DOE), Interior, and State; Environmental Protection Agency
      (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration      (NASA), National
      Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Agency for Interna-
      tional Development (AID), Office of Management and Budget (OMB),
      Office of Science and Technology (OSTP),National Science Foundation
      (NSF), and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ);
    l 17,s. overseas missions and offices of the World Meteorological Organiza-
      tion (WMO), located in Geneva, Switzerland; the United Nations Environ-
      ment Program (UNEP), located in Nairobi, Kenya; the International
      Council of Scientific Unions (rcsu), the Organization for Economic Coop-
      eration and Development, and the United Nations Educational, Scien-
      tific, and Cultural Organization, all located in Paris, France;
    l the first meeting of the IPCC(held in Geneva, Switzerland) and the plan-
      ning session of the panel’s response strategies working group (Washing-
      ton, DC.); and
    . the offices of various independent policy analysis and advisory organi-
      zations, science academies, and professional/technical groups.

            We conducted our review between October 1988 and July 1989 and per-
            formed the overseas fieldwork between November 1988 and January
            1989. Our work was conducted in accordance with generally accepted
            government auditing standards. We discussed the matters contained in
            the report with agency officials responsible for climate change activi-
            ties, and their comments have been incorporated where appropriate. As
            requested by the Chairman, we did not obtain official agency comments.

Y




            Page 15                                      GAO/NSIALLOO-63   Global Warming
Chabter 2

I$velopment of U.S. Policy on Global
Cbate Change

                          Global climate change has a potential impact on social, economic, and
                          political issues at all levels- local, state, national, and international.
                          Because the nation’s industry, agriculture, commerce, transportation,
                          natural resources, health, and security will be affected by climate
                          change and programs addressing this issue, federal agencies are con-
                          ducting expanded research into the causes and effects of global warm-
                          ing. This research will help in studying the scope and timing of the
                          global warming threat in order that appropriate policy and strategy
                          responses may be developed to mitigate or adapt to its effect. However,
                          the administration has not established a clear national policy, defined
                          federal agency roles and relationships, or provided agencies with ade-
                          quate guidance to effectively address the global warming issue.


                          The Congress has enacted legislation which addresses various broad
National Policy
             VT
                and       national environmental and scientific policy concerns, including climate
Strategy Not Yet          processes. However, it was not until p&sage of the Global Climate Pro-
Established               tection Act of 1987, contained in the Foreign Relations Authorization
                          Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (P.L. lOO-204), that Congress specifi-
                          cally addressed the issue of global warming. Among its provisions, the
                          act requires the President, through EPA,to develop and propose a coordi-
                          nated national policy to facilitate an effective response to the threat
                          posed by global climate change.

                          We found that the administration has not yet established such a national
                          policy or communicated a clear statement of national goals or set of
                          objectives governing global climate change. In addition, the administra-
                          tion has not developed an overall strategy that provides direction for
                          federal agencies’ global climate change activities.


EPA Efforts to Develop    EPAhas traditionally  examined the effects of pollution on human health
National Policy Delayed   and the environment, and options, including technology, for reducing
                          pollutants. Further, EPAofficials told us that the agency’s experience in
                          dealing with global environmental issues justifies its tasking to develop
                          a coordinated national policy for global climate change. However, they
                          said that the agency’s efforts to develop such a national policy have
                          been delayed pending designation of federal agency roles and responsi-
                          bilities, improved understanding of the science of global warming, and
                          identification of possible response strategies through international
                          discussions.




                          Page 16                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                        Development  of U.S. Policy on GlobaJ
                        CUrnate Change




Ag&cy Roles Not         The President has not designated any individual or agency to assume
Designated              overall leadership or management responsibility for global climate
                        change. Without such a designated leadership position or focal point, no
                        identifiable hierarchical structure for policy and decision-making on
                        global climate change issues has emerged.

                        A 1979 presidential executive order (E.O. 12114) on environmental
                        effects of major federal actions abroad states that a lead agency shall be
                        determined by the participants whenever an environmental action or
                        program involves more than one federal agency. During current efforts,
                        a lead agency was not designated. Federal departments and agencies
                        developed their activities without a specific overall multiagency global
                        climate change program.

                        IJntil an explicit national policy and program for global climate change
                        is developed, some agency officials see a dilemma in making research
                        relevant for policymakers without also having them improperly direct
                        or influence the course and results of the research. The officials said
                        that responsibilities between scientific agencies and policymakers, and
                        between scientific assessment and policy assessment functions, should
                        be clearly separated. They believe that such separations are needed
                        because policy-directed programs generally focus on immediate and visi-
                        ble concerns rather than on long-term and less certain impacts.


Executive Guidance to   The President announced in February 1989 that he would issue an exec-
Agencies I nadequate    utive order on global climate change that would clearly define responsi-
                        bilities of federal departments and agencies, as well as establishing
                        cffcctive coordination mechanisms. However, as of November 1989, the
                        order had not been issued and its status was uncertain. Agency officials
                        told us that they had not received clear guidance to direct the course of
                        climate change activity. Those involved in such research activity have
                        been guided by general principles set forth by the administration; by
                        policies articulated in national environmental, science and technology,
                        and climate program legislation; and by their organizational mission.
                        Figure 2.1 shows the principal executive branch offices, departments,
                        and agencies involved in global climate change.



             *




                        Page 17                                       GAO/NSIALMO43   Global Warming
                                                                                                                                 -

      I   _.              ___ ._ ..___.
                                    ._”--_..- --.--.--------
                                                   Chapter 2
                                                   Ikvdopment   of U.S. Policy on Global
                                                   Climate Change




Figure 2.1: Executive Branch Organizations Principally Involved in Global Climate Change
      I
      ,

Exec$tive Offices
of then President

                                                                      Office of Science and




                                                                       Federal Coordinating
                                                                       Council for Science,




Departments

                                                                                         I
                                                                              Department
                                                                             of Commerce

                                                                 \
                                                                                     I
    Bureau of Oceans                                                        National Oceanic
     and International                                                      and Atmospheric
    Envrronmental and                                                        Administration
     Scientific Affairs

                                                                 ,-------         -------
                                                                         National Climate
                                                                      Program Policy Board




lndedendent    Agencies
               I




                                                    ; - -1 Denotes   advisory   boards
                                                    ---




                                                    Page 18                                    GAO/NSlAD90-63   Global Warming
                             Chapter 2
                             Development  of U.S. Policy on Global
                             Climate Change




Adkinistration Focus on      The previous administration opposed the Global Climate Protection Act
                             of 1987 and further global climate change legislation on the grounds
Res$arch Pending             that it would conflict with existing legislation and would seriously dis-
Valiidation of Threat        rupt the organized effort underway. It held that OSTI’was legislatively
                             given responsibility to coordinate science activities affecting more than
                             one agency, and that it was inappropriate to name a single lead agency.
                             The administration noted that appropriate roles for federal agencies
                             were being determined.

                            Subsequently, the current administration signaled its intention to give
                            high priority to the global warming issue. In his February 1989 budget
                            message to the Congress, the President pledged support for international
                            cooperation and called for increased research to reduce the scientific
                            uncertainties. Pending further research on the scientific causes of global
                            warming and economic consequences of reducing it, the IJnited States
                            would focus on short-term actions that may affect climate change and
                            can be justified for other reasons, such as to (1) increase energy effi-
                            ciency, (2) promote renewable energy sources and technologies, (3)
                            reduce harmful gas emissions (including phasing out WC’S), and (4)
                            reduce deforestation and support tree planting.

                            In his budget message, the President stated that

                            ITS leadership was essential for international cooperation and global
                            action;
                            outlays for federal global change (encompassing climate change)
                            research efforts would be increased in fiscal year 1990 (by 43 percent
                            over 1989 to $191 million) to reduce scientific uncertainties surrounding
                            future predictions of potential greenhouse effects; and
                          . hc would issue an executive order on global climate change to clearly
                            define the responsibilities of federal departments and agencies, as well
                            as establish effective coordination mechanisms.


                            Pending establishment of a national policy and issuance of specific guid-
National Policy             ance regarding federal agency roles and responsibilities for global cli-
Advisory and Climate        mate change, certain executive branch policy advisory and program
Program Functions           management functions established by law already exist. Through prior
                            legislation, the Congress provided the Office of Science and Technology
Not Fully Discharged        Policy (0s~~) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) with broad
             *              authority to advise the President on national environmental and scien-
                            tific policy, and it established a National Climate Program Office (NCI'O)



                            Page 19                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                                    Chapter 2
                                    Development  of U.S. Policy on Global
                                    Climate Change




“.__....
     ., _... - __.....
                   --.-._ ---__-.
                                    within the Department of Commerce to manage the federal national cli-
                                    mate program.

                                    We found indications that these offices had not fully discharged their
                                    broad statutory advisory functions, owing in part to a lack of funding
                                    and staff resources. As a result, federal agencies have not been able to
                                    look to them for effective guidance on how their programs or other
                                    activities may contribute to, and could be affected by, global climatic
                                    change.

         _        -.-....-..
                       ---
OdP                                 The National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priori-
                                    tics Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-282) established a national science and technol-
                                    ogy policy, providing for an advisory mechanism (OSTP)within the
                                    Executive Office of the President to advise on aspects of issues of
                                    national concern (including the environment) that require attention at
                                    the highest levels of government. The director of OSTPserves as the Pres-
                                    ident’s science adviser and, as executive branch central policy planner,
                                    os1’1)assists federal agencies in identifying public problems and objcc-
                                    tives, mobilizing scientific and technological resources, and reviewing
                                    federal science policy and programs. Agencies look to OSTPfor national
                                    guidance, but it appears that OSTPhas not been provided with the ncces-
                                    sary staff and funds to effectively carry out its policy, coordination, and
                                    other functions.

                                    Adequate staff and funding to perform the OSTPfunctions have been
                                    concerns of its officials. OSTPstaffing levels have declined over the last 6
                                    years and key positions were not filled. Officials said that, on the aver-
                                    age, OSTI’staff left after about 2 years in their positions. They said some
                                    0~1’1’staffing needs are filled through staff loaned from other depart-
                                    ments and agencies, and some key positions remain vacant. OSTP'Sfiscal
                                    year 1989 appropriation of $1.6 million was at its lowest point in 10
                                    years-at 35 percent of the amount appropriated in 1978-and further
                                    spending limitations have been imposed. (As discussed further in app. II,
                                    a recent report on Science & Technology and the President, by the Car-
                                    negie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government observed
                                    that, even after 12 years, OSTPwas a long way from fulfilling its man-
                                    date to help define and implement national science and technology
                                    policy.)

                                    OSTPappears to be taking on a more influential   national policy role
                                    under the Bush administration. The President has recently elevated the
                                    status of its directorship, naming the science adviser to chair a Domestic


                                    Page 20                                          GAO/NSlAD-9063   Global Warming
          (Xlaptrr 2
          tkwt~topment of U.S. Policy on Gtohat
          <Ximatr Change




         I’olicy Council working group on global change. In addition, several key
         staff positions formerly left vacant under the Reagan administration
         have been filled.


NC;I/O   The National Climate Program Act of 1978 (P.1,. 95-367) gave NCPO
         broad authority to establish and coordinate a national climate program,
         including planning, research, data collection and assessment, global fore-
         casting, international cooperation, and reporting. In establishing NW0 as
         lead entity for this program within the Commerce Department, authors
         of the legislation stated that the Congress meant to create a prototype
         research organization that would coordinate climate research across
   /     agency and disciplinary boundaries and respond to natural and human-
         induced climate change rather than passively adapt to it. However,
         agency officials told us that NCI'O'Slow placement in the department’s
         executive echelon and a comparatively modest budget have hindered its
         effectiveness.

         NW0 was administratively placed under the Chief Scientist in NOAA,a
         Commerce Department agency which is the lead agency for climate mon-
         itoring and prediction. From there, NCPOoversees and provides guidance
         for a multiagency national climate program plan, and analyzes for 0~13a
         budget of about $200 million, with a staff of 12. Agency officials com-
         mented that NCI'O'Splacement within NOAAmade it difficult for the office
         to adequately administer the interagency climate program. Despite the
         office’s perceived lack of support and visibility, cognizant agency offi-
         cials said that they believe NCPOis the proper activity to provide an
         informed long-range climate change and forecasting capability.


         The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (P.1,. 91-190) estab-
         lished a national policy for the environment (encompassing climate
         change) and a three-member Council on Environmental Quality in the
         Executive Office of the President to, among other things, develop and
         recommend to the President national policies to foster and promote
         improvement of environmental quality to meet social,,economic, health,
         and other national goals. CEQ’S chairman told us that the agency’s fund-
         ing and personnel resources were insufficient to carry out its tasks.

         For example, CEQ regulations require that federal agencies’ environmen-
         tal assessments and statements address reasonably foreseeable impacts
         of proposed programs, projec;ts, and regulations, as well as the impact
         that environmental change would have on programs or projects. CEQ has


         Page 2 1                                      GAO/NSIAD90-63   Gtobal Warming
            ,

                    Chapter 2
                    Development  of U.S. Policy on Global
                    Ctlmate Change




---..--.-
                    determined that whereas global warming resulting from greenhouse gas
                    emissions is “reasonably foreseeable,” no more than six assessments
                    prepared by federal agencies since 1982 included global climate change
                    factors.

                    Further, we were told that CEQhad drafted but not yet issued additional
                    guidance to federal agencies on this subject. In calling attention to cli-
                    mate change in environmental impact statements, CEQproposed issuing
                    policy guidance requiring that statements include specific assessments
                    of global climate change impacts. However, the chairman said that the
                    administration delayed issuing the initially proposed guidance because it
                    left open the issue of whether both completed programs and those
                    approved for completion required an assessment.


                    Three interagency mechanisms are used to coordinate the federal gov-
Interagency         ernment’s climate change activities. A 1986 amendment to the National
Coordination for    Climate Program Act of 1978 established the National Climate Program
Climate Change      Policy Board (NCPPH) to coordinate NW0 activities in the Department of
                    Commerce. An administrative order created a Committee on Earth Sci-
Activity            ences (CILS)under OSTPand the Federal Coordinating Council for Science,
                    Engineering and Technology (FCCSET)to coordinate federal global change
                    research activities. In addition, a State Department group coordinates
                    1J.S.participation in the IPCC.EPAalso initially established an inter-
                    agency committee to ensure full coordination of scientific information
                    and development of national policy options for global climate change,
                    but has since discontinued it and agreed to carry out its task through
                    existing interagency coordination mechanisms.

                    The administration did not designate any of these mechanisms to lead
                    interagency coordination activity for global climate change. Their objec-
                    tives differ in some respects and they have some overlapping responsi-
                    bility and constituency. Agency officials have considered merging or
                    restructuring NCPPRand cxs activities to streamline operations, but said
                    that their efforts to effect such change were hampered by legal and pol-
                    icy management considerations.

                    Although global climate change is not specifically addressed in federal
                    research program plans, a research agenda for such activities is referred
                    to and incorporated into the National Climate Program (administered by
                Y   NCPO) and in the initial 1J.S.Global Change Research Program (coordi-
                    nated by CES).



                    Page 22                                       GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                          Chapter 2
                          Development  of U.S. Policy on Global
                          Climate Change




FCdSET/CES Responsi.ble   FCCSETwas established concurrent with OSTP by the National Science and
for (Global Change        Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976, and was
                          given the responsibility to consider problems and developments affect-
Res+arch                  ing more than one federal agency, and to recommend national and sci-
                          ence technology policy. FCCSET'Sdesignated chairman is the director of
                          OSTI', and its membership includes a representative from most depart-
                          ments and major scientific agencies.

                          The FCCSETchairman established CES in 1987 to increase overall effec-
                          tiveness and productivity of federal global change research and develop-
                          ment efforts, and to address significant national policy matters that cut
                          across agency boundaries. CES seeks to establish the scientific basis (but
                          not the authority or responsibility) for policy-making relative to natural
                          and human-induced changes in the global earth system. Unless its char-
                          ter is renewed, CES will terminate by December 31, 1990. Its functions
                          are to (1) review national and international programs, (2) improve plan-
                          ning, coordination, and communication, (3) identify and define research
                          needs, (4) develop and update long-range plans, and (6) assist the FCCSET
                          chairperson and the administration. CFs also evaluates how well current
                          research activities address key scientific questions and program goals,
                          and identifies gaps in knowledge and priorities among research needs.

                          (:I% is made up of senior-level agency representatives who review fed-
                          eral research programs in earth science, with global climate change as a
                          major component. CES has representation from each of the following
                          agencies: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy,
                          Interior, State, Transportation; EPA; NASA; NSF; OSTP; OMH; and CEQ. The
                          chairman may request other federal agency representatives to partici-
                          pate in cxs programs and activities. Staff work is conducted by the mem-
                          ber agencies.

                          Administration officials view CES as the principal forum for setting the
                          broad IJ.S. priorities in the earth sciences, and for integrating and coor-
                          dinating 1J.S.research programs. Accordingly, CES prepared the special
                          research strategy report entitled Our Changing Planet: A U.S. Strategy
                          for Global Change Research, and submitted it to the Congress as a part
                          of the President’s fiscal year 1990 budget. The document, prepared in
                          collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, outlines the goals,
                          implementation strategy, and research budget of the U.S. Global Change
                          Research Program. The report shows fiscal years 1989 and 1990 budget
            J             levels among major science elements and funding by participating
                          agency for each element. CES officials proposed to expand the strategy
                          report into a detailed, comprehensive research plan during 1989.


                          Page 23                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                                                                     -                      ~_...._    _...
                                                                                                         _--._.- -..-, r
                                    (:hspi.er 2
                                    Ikveh~pment  of U.S. Policy on Global
                                    Climate <%ange




                                    The (:ES“cross-cut” global change budget marked the first time that OMD
                                    and affected federal agencies had met to develop a framework of
                                    research that provided for standardized program reporting and idcntifi-
                                    cation of program priorities, potential areas of overlap, and program
                                    gaps in need of attention. Decisions were reached through agency-orvln
                                    consensus, and the resulting budget represents a mixture of what the
                                    participants perceived was the appropriate investment in global change
                                    research, with climate change being a major component.

 __..
NC1 PI3 Coordinates                 Overall coordination of NW0 activities was legislated under a 1986
Nat r)nal Climate Program           amendment to the National Climate Program Act of 1978 which created
                                    the NCIW3. The board’s responsibilities include coordinating plans and
                                    reviewing progress on the National Climate Program plan, reviewing
                                    agency and department climate-related budget requests, and establish-
                                    ing and maintaining interagency groups necessary to carry out NCPP~~
                                    activities. The board serves as a forum for interagency staff coordina-
                                    tion on climate change research programs.

                                    NCIW is headed by the NCPO director and NCI'O serves as its staff. Its
                                    participating agencies and activities include climate activities of the
                                    Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Interior, State, and
                                    Transportation; WA; NASA; CEQ; NSF; 0s~~; and others as determined by
                                    the Secretary of Commerce.

                                    NCWB   officials envisioned that the board’s membership would consist of
                                    senior-level representatives from the agencies and activities participat-
                                    ing in the program. However, they told us that it evolved into a staff-
                                    level group of researchers and policy analysts. In part, it appears to
                                    have been NCPO'S inability to effectively address global change, a more
                                    recent and broader concept than climate change, that led to the estab-
                                    lishment of CM Its function to develop a coordinated interagency cli-
                                    mate change research plan is also embodied within development of the
                                    CM global change program.

  ...-_ -_--   ..--.I-_-..-..
Department of State                 Development of interagency planning for IJ.S. participation in the IJ.N.-
Cocjrdi nates U.S.                  sponsored II'CC effort and 17,s. leadership of IPCC’Sresponse strategies
                                    working group are coordinated by the State Department’s Bureau of
Participation in the IPCC           Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, under
                                v   the direction of the Domestic Policy Council’s Working Group on Energy,
                                    Natural Resources and the Environment. The group meets as required,
                                    often weekly, to develop position papers and coordinate preparation of


                                    Pa@24                                          GAO/NSIAD-90-63    Global Warming
              Chapter 2
              Development  of U.S. Policy on Global
              Climate Change




              IPCC work products. It has a broad membership, composed of representa-
              tives from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy,
              Interior, and Treasury; NCPO, OMB, CIQ the Council of Economic Advis-
              ers, WA, OSTP, AID, and the U.S. Trade Representative. The members who
              participate in the group are often the same individuals who serve on the
              NCPO/NCPPB and FCCSET/CEIScoordinating bodies.


              Many executive branch agencies are engaged in climate-related activities
Conclusions   and have responsibility for analyzing the economic, social, health, and
              other impacts of climate change. Several organizational mechanisms
              have been established to provide policy leadership, to guide and direct
              agency research activities, to recommend funding levels, and to deter-
              mine research priorities for environmental, scientific, and climate-
              related activities. However, national policy goals and decision-making
              responsibility for managing a federal program on global climate change
              have not been established.

              Development of a coordinated national policy and implementing global
              climate change research and program strategies have been impeded by
              lack of designated leadership and guidance on agency roles and respon-
              sibilities, and limited effectiveness of offices responsible for national
              environmental and climate program policy. Interagency coordination
              was carried out through formal and ad hoc mechanisms that had over-
              lapping responsibility and constituency. In the absence of executive
              direction clarifying responsibilities of federal agencies, climate change
              research activities and policy formulation were being conducted in an
              atmosphere that lacked effective central and strategic planning and that
              had operated without full use of existing policy structures and
              resources. .




              Page 25                                       GAO/NSIALMO63   Global Warming
Chapjt.cr
       3_-..-..-.-.~_
U@.Participation in International Climate
Cl@mgeActivities

..I”X__^/^.. _.   .I_..___. ..- --.-_
                                        The IJnited States and the world community recognize that global warm-
                                        ing cannot be attributed to one country or source and, because the
                                        potential impact would affect everyone, any overall solution requires
        I                               the cooperation of all nations.

                                        A principal objective of U.S. international environmental policy is to
                                        provide leadership, through international organizations and cooperative
                                        efforts, to advance the scientific understanding necessary to responsibly
                                        address the implications of predicted global climate change. To meet this
                                        objective, federal agencies participate in various global climate change
                                        effect studies through a number of multilateral activities and interna-
                                        tional organizations, and conduct cooperative research activities under
                                        international and bilateral agreements with a number of countries.

                                        International organizations, principally WMOand IJNISP, coordinate cli-
                                        mate change studies. These bodies recently established the Intergovern-
                                        mental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),which has become the leading
                                        international forum for addressing global warming. The IJnited States
                                        has assumed a major role in the panel, chairing a working group that is
                                        examining response strategies. However, despite giving rise to expecta-
                                        tions among other nations that it was giving high priority and was ready
                                        to act on the global warming issue, the United States so far has empha-
                                        sized the need for continued further study rather than commit too early
                                        to specific targets or timetables that could result in unwarranted actions
                                        to protect the environment.


                                        The Department of State manages US. international science and tech-
Agency Roles and                        nology activities as a fundamental element of foreign relations and
Responsibilities                        global environmental policy. It seeks to assure that U.S. international
                                        science and technology activities, including such environmental con-
                                        corns as protecting the ozone layer, control of WC emissions, and global
                                        climate change, are carried out in accord with the nation’s foreign policy
                                        agenda. State’s 13ureau of Oceans and International Environmental and
                                        Scientific Affairs (OES)coordinates with other bureaus in the depart-
                                        ment to develop overall 1J.S.policy positions and strategies, represents
                                        tho I Jnited States in bilateral and multilateral discussions, and negoti-
                                        ates and prcparcs texts for international agreements in consultation
                                        with a number of executive, scientific and technical agencies and pri-
                                        vatc sector organizations. State’s Bureau of International Organization
                                        Affairs provides funding support for, and coordinates 1J.S.participation
                                        in, international organizations.



                                        Page 26                                        GAO/NSIAD90-63 Global Warming
                          Chapter 3
                          U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
                          Change Activities




                          Other federal departments and agencies participate in international
                          activities according to their functional areas of responsibility and exper-
                          tise. They conduct these efforts in direct collaboration with other gov-
                          crnments and international organizations and through various domestic
                          interagency mechanisms. In certain circumstances, such as conferences
                          on technical issues, representatives from EPAor other federal agencies
                          may be designated to lead IJ.S. diplomatic missions abroad. Cooperative
                          research projects on climate change are carried out through multilateral
                          conventions and environmental agreements with various countries. In
                          addition, direct liaisons are maintained with several organizations. For
                          example, the Chief of the National Weather Service, under NOAA,is the
                          I J.S. I’ermanent Representative to WMOfor technical and scientific coor-
                          dination. Similar coordination with other IJ.N. agencies are handled by
                          State.


                          International environmental research and policy development are coor-
Multilateral Activities   dinated principally through two specialized United Nations agencies-
                          WMoand rJNEP--and the International Council of Scientific Unions (lcsrr),
                          a nongovernmental body of scientific unions, academies, research coun-
                          cils, and associations. WMOcoordinates worldwide collection and
                          exchange of weather data and seeks to improve forecasting services.
                          1JNW studies environmental changes throughout the world, promotes
                          and coordinates 1J.N. programs, and provides policy direction for inter-
                          national environmental projects.

                          Multilateral activities concerning climate change arc principally con-
                          ducted-and until recently, coordinated-under       the World Climate I’ro-
                          gram, a collaborative effort since 1979. As part of the program, WMO
                          collects and exchanges data on the earth’s atmosphere and climate, IJNEP
                          monitors and addresses possible policy responses to the impact of signif-
                          icant climate variations, and WMOand ICSIJconduct joint research
                          efforts. In addition, ICSIJis developing (through nongovernmental orga-
                          nizations) a long-term international geosphere-biosphere program that is
                          focusing on the interactive physical, chemical, and biological processes
                          that regulate the total earth system.

                          International discussions to protect the earth’s ozone layer began in
                          1981 under IJNEPauspices, culminating in a broad international agree-
                          ment (the 1985 Vienna Convention) addressing this issue. The agree-
                          ment has formed the basis for current global efforts to phase out CI;Y:
                          usage. In 1987, recognizing the need for a more focused and broad-based



                          Page 27                                           GAO/NSL&D4O-63   Global Warming
                                 Chapter 3
                                 U.S. Participation   in InternationaJ   Climate
                                 Change Activities




                                 approach to understanding and responding to effects of increased green-
                                 house gas concentrations on the earth’s climate, the governing bodies of
                                 WMO and UNEPestablished the IPCCto


                             l   assess available scientific knowledge of global climate changes to deter-
                                 mine if a warming trend has begun and examine its causes;
                             l   review the environmental, economic, and social impact of climate
                                 change; and
                             l   formulate response strategies for national and global action.

   1


                                 The 1Jnited States actively promoted the IPCC’Sestablishment and the
U.Y. Participation in            administration firmly supports its work. NW0 and its policy board origi-
the IPCC                         nally proposed an intergovernmental panel to coordinate and oversee
                                 the international assessment of climate change and its impact on society.
                                 While NCPO continued to have an active role in IPCCactivities, U.S. lead-
                                 ership on the panel has been assumed by the OES Assistant Secretary of
                                 State, under the direction of the Domestic Policy Council’s Working
                                 Group on Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment. The leader-
                                 ship arrangement was arrived at through interagency consensus.


First Panel Meeting in           II’CCheld its first meeting at WMOheadquarters in Geneva in November
CrHNYa                            1988 at which time it established an organizational framework and
                                 study program which generally met 1J.S.objectives for autonomy, rea-
                                 sonableness, and attainability. The panel established three working
                                 groups and a small independent secretariat to coordinate activities of
                                 the working groups. It also proposed a trust fund arrangement among
                                 participants to finance its work, and set a timetable of about 18 months
                                 for completion of its study.

                                 The working groups established by the panel to coordinate its work com-
                                 prised broad regional and developmental membership, with each group
                                 consisting of 2 to 5 vice-chairs and a total of 12 to 17 members and
                                 responsibilities as follows:

                         l       Working Group 1, chaired by the United Kingdom, is to consider factors
                                 affecting climate change, including greenhouse gases, responses of the
                                 atmosphere-ocean-land-ice system to these factors, assessment of cur-
                                 rent capabilities of modeling global and regional climate change and the
                                 predictability and timing of such change, past climate record and pres-
                                 ently observed climate anomalies, and projections of future climate and



                                 Page 28                                           GAO/NSIAD-W-63   Global Wardng
    Chapter 3
    U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
    Change Activities




  sea level. The range of projections and their regional variations, gaps
  and uncertainties should be identified.
. Working Group 2, chaired by the Soviet Union, is to make an integrated
  review of environmental and socioeconomic impacts of climate change,
  emphasizing national/regional climate warming and sea-level rise (espc-
  cially in coastal and island areas), agriculture, forestry, health, water
  resources and floods, droughts and decertification, energy, and other
  sectors.
l Working Group 3, chaired by the IJnited States, is to address forecasting
  and assessment of future emissions of greenhouse gases, impacts of
  changing technology, sources and sinks, adaptation to climate change,
  strategies to control and reduce emissions (through fossil fuel conserva-
  tion), and other human activities that may have an impact on climate
  (e.g., changing land-use, deforestation), the social and economic implica-
  tions, and legal matters.

    The 17,s. delegation comprised the largest and most diversified of over
    35 nations and international organizations that attended the Geneva
    meeting. The delegation included a number of congressional observers
    and advisers from the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Interior;
    FrjA*  L,‘, NSF.and osrp.
    4, NASA’

    WMOand IJNEP officials hosting the conference told us that they were
    generally pleased by the level of support, commitment to action, and
    overall unity of purpose shown by the U.S. delegation. However, they
    also pointed out some areas that could be improved. The officials stated
    that, although it was clear to them that the State Department represen-
    tative coordinated 1J.S.efforts at this conference, they were uncertain
    that this representative would continue to be the designated official IJ.S.
    spokesperson for future IPCCand other global climate change activities.
    They also observed that it was essential for the United States to (1)
    establish clear lines of authority and responsibility for carrying out 1J.S.
    global warming policy, (2) identify “lead” contact points for carrying
    out the study elements of IPCC’Swork, (3) designate focal points to
    obtain funding support for rrcc-sponsored research and conferences, and
    (4) improve coordination mechanisms to bring in broader governmental
    and private sector representation as the debate shifts from scientific
    analysis to policy formulation.




    Page 29                                           GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming




                                                                           ,,
                                                                                                                  -
                             Chapter 3
                             U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
                             Change Activities




Wo$king Group Planning       Planning meetings of the working groups and with the coordinating sec-
Meqtings                     retariat in Geneva were held during 1989. Each working group estab-
                             lished a steering committee and several subgroups to organize
                             preparation of each report.

                             The first session of the U.S.-led response strategies working group
                             (Working Group 3), attended by 33 nations and a broad range of inter-
                             national and nongovernmental organizations, convened in Washington,
                             D.C., in late January 1989. The Secretary of State chose the occasion to
                             signal the administration’s readiness to act and give high priority to
                             efforts aimed at controlling global warming. The Secretary remarked
                             that action on this transnational issue probably should not wait until the
                             scientific uncertainties have been resolved, but that immediate focus
                             should be on steps that are specific, cost-effective, as fair as possible to
                             everyone, and justifiable on other grounds.

                             The initial US. proposal submitted for organizing the group’s work
                             implied a need for additional data-gathering. It was regarded by partici-
                             pants as too time-consuming and revised by the United States in favor of
                             a plan that emphasizes development of short- and long-term limitation
                             and adaptation strategies. The new report plan was to describe existing
                             scientific knowledge and likely impacts of ongoing and future climate
                             change, to be provided by the other two IPCCworking groups. Four sub-
                             groups were established to address limitation and adaptation strategies
                             by major topic (i.e., energy and industry, agriculture and forestry,
                             coastal zone management, and resource use/management) to conduct its
                             work, with the goals to

                         l define policy options for national, regional, and international actions,
                           including short-term (18 months) proposals;
                         l provide estimates of consequences, costs, and benefits;
                         l set priorities; and
                         . define implementation mechanisms, analyzing carefully the implications
                           for nations in different stages of development.

                             The second meeting of the response strategies working group was held
                             in Geneva in October 1989, attended by 43 national delegations repre-
                             senting broadening participation by less developed and eastern bloc
                             countries, and continued heavy involvement of NGO’Sand international
                             organizations. The broader participation disclosed a wide range of view-
                             points and, despite reaching consensus on certain basic issues, it also
                             had the effect of illuminating fundamental differences requiring further
                             dialogue and negotiation, Concerning the major issue discussed at the


                             Page 30                                           GAO/NSLAD-90-63   Global Warming
                          Chapter 3
                          U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
                          Change Activities




    :----‘----

                          meeting, delegates agreed on the need for a framework convention on
                          climate change that would lay down general principles and obligations,
                          provide for continuing assessments, and permit separate protocols to be
                          negotiated on the different greenhouse gases. However, distinct differ-
                          ences existed regarding the specificity of emissions control measures
                          that were to be addressed in the convention. The IJnited States proposed
                          further study of economic consequences and submitted a list of legal
                          measures which were noted without action or consensus.

                          For working groups chaired by other countries, overall coordination of
                          IJ.S. participation in the U.K.-led “science” working group is provided
                          by c~i;s,and NCPO was designated lead coordinator for the U.S.S.R.-led
                          “impacts” working group. A Geneva secretariat meeting in May 1989
                          focused on developing a reporting framework and on seeking increased
                          understanding of deeply felt concerns of developing countries that
                          response strategies adopted to reduce emissions do not impair economic
                          growth and social needs.


Second Panel Meeting in   In .June 1989, the full IPCCpanel convened in Nairobi, Kenya, to review
Nairobi                   the progress of its three working groups and to explore ways to increase
                          the participation of developing countries in the WC. Each working
                          group is scheduled to complete its work and prepare a report by May
                          1990. The completed work will become IPCC’Sfirst interim report, and is
                          scheduled for consideration by the I7.N. General Assembly in 1990. It
                          should provide guidelines for global policy formulation and serve as a
                          starting point for formal negotiations on a framework convention. The
                          panel expects to present its reports at the Second World Conference,
                          organized by WMOand IJNISP and last held in 1979, in Geneva during
                          November 1990.

                          Representatives from over 40 countries attended the Nairobi meeting,
                          more than attended the first IPCCmeeting in Geneva in November 1988.
                          OISSattributes the increased participation to greater attendance by third
                          world countries. To maintain and improve third world participation, the
                          IPU: approved increased funding for travel of third world experts to
                          nr:c:-related activities, agreed to sponsor conferences and seminars for
                          third world experts, and to assist in the formation of national commit-
                          tees on climate change in developing countries. The United States and
                          other countries pledged additional travel assistance for less developed
                          countries.




                          Page 3 1                                          GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                       Chapter 3
                       U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
                       Change Activities




Coo$dination by U.S.   The IJnited States’ early involvement in IPCCwas coordinated by State/
                       OW, but international   environmental officials asserted that the Bureau
Age+cies               has not provided the strong leadership sought or expected by some of
                       these officials in the wake of the Secretary of State’s welcoming speech
                       in *January 1989 to the IPCCresponse strategies working group. In part,
                       as discussed previously, the officials pointed to a lack of clarity in
                       designating leadership, agency responsibilities, and focal points for coor-
                       dinating the global warming issue.

                       The State/o&! Assistant Secretary led U.S. delegations at IPCCconfer-
                       ences and Working Group 3 meetings but the principal I7.S. delegates to
                       Working Group 1 and 2 meetings were representatives from other agen-
                       cies. According to State officials, the President was expected to name a
                       permanent chief delegate to the IPCC,but had not yet done so (nor was
                       the OESAssistant Secretary appointed or confirmed in his position in the
                       new administration). An ad hoc working group, meeting under State/oks
                       auspices, guided 17,s. participation in the INC. Also, at State/oEs request,
                       NW0 reported on IPCCand global climate change activities by federal
                       agencies, nongovernment organizations, industry, and other groups. Sep-
                       arately, the WA administrator was named to lead a ministerial-level con-
                       ference on global warming hosted by the Netherlands in November
                       1989.

                       The administration considers IPCC’Sformation to be an important first
                       step in providing a central international forum, along with other compo-
                       tent bodies, for addressing the climate change issue. IPCCserves as an
                       interim measure for member governments to critically review informa-
                       tion needed to form an international consensus on climate change.
                       Administration policy has been to avoid making specific commitments to
                       regulate greenhouse gas emissions until IPCCsubmits its final report in
                       November 1990. It is not clear what permanent institutional arrange-
                       ment may be made to continue to develop internationally recognized cli-
                       mate change assessments and responses beyond 1990. However, during
                       the recent II’CCmeeting in Nairobi, the OESAssistant Secretary stated
                       that the conclusions of IITX’S interim report would serve as a starting
                       point for formal negotiations and could be used by countries to form
                       short- and long-term strategies.




                       Paye 32                                           GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                        Chapter 3
                        U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
                        Change Activities




                        Federal departments and agencies also conduct joint research programs
U.S.;Participation in   in their areas of responsibility with foreign governments through inter-
Bilakeral Climate       national and bilateral environmental agreements that directly and indi-
Ch ’ ge Programs        rectly relate to the global climate change issue. The following are some
   T                    examples.

                        IJnder the National Climate Program Act of 1978, as amended, NOAAis
                        responsible for coordinating interagency participation in international
                        climate-related activities and, to this end, is the focal point for U.S. par-
                        ticipation in the World Climate Program research. It has working agree-
                        ments with Canada, China, and the Soviet Union, and has conducted a
                        series of seminars designed to identify emerging policy and technical
                         LL L.
                        i$sucs
                        EM has had a bilateral agreement with the Soviet IJnion since 1972 on
                        protection of the environment, under which various agencies have par-
                        ticipated in global climate change research, including ozone depletion in
                        the polar areas, and formulation of potential policy responses. EPAalso
                        has an agreement with its counterpart agency in the People’s Republic
                        of China to study environmental pollution and climate change.
                        DOEhas approximately 150 agreements with about 24 countries, mostly
                        involving fossil and nuclear energy, including a number of them on
                        energy conservation and emission control. One agreement (with China),
                        exploring the relationship of climatic changes and atmospheric levels of
                        carbon dioxide, directly relates to the global climate change issue.
                        Representatives of IJ.S. scientific agencies, including NASA,NOAA,and
                        NSF,conduct various assessments in co-sponsorship with other govern-
                        ments and international organizations.

                        Although AID does not assist in specific climate change research activi-
                        ties, it exerts some policy influence through projects that it finances in
                        developing countries. Projects include energy conservation and effi-
                        ciency, forestry assistance, and crop production.


                        The Global Climate Protection Act of 1987 requires the Secretary of
Reporting on and        State and EI’AAdministrator to submit a report to the Congress by
Promoting Global        December 1989, which is to address many of the same matters that are
Climate Protection      to be addressed in the II’CCreport. In addition, the act requires the Secre-
                        tary to promote, within the IJnited Nations, the early designation of an
             Y          International Year of Global Climate Protection. Accordingly, the 1J.S.
                        rcprcsontative suggested to IKX members at their June 1989 meeting in
                        Nairobi that they consider the concept of an international year of cli-
                        mate change within the U.N. system and that 1990 would be a logical


                        Page 33                                           GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
               Chapter 3
               U.S. Participation   in International   Climate
               Change Activities




               choice for such designation because of a number of important interna-
               tional conferences already scheduled during that year. The WCCnoted
               the suggestion but made no formal decision on the matter.


               The United States has participated in collaborative climate research
Co/nclusions   activity through various international organizations and bilateral agree-
               ments for many years. Further, it placed itself in strong leadership posi-
               tion to attain international cooperation in formulating policy to limit or
               adapt to global climate change by gaining chairmanship of the WCC
               response strategies working group in November 1988. However, despite
               giving early indications that it was ready to act and give high priority to
               this issue, the administration has continued to emphasize the need to
               conduct further research rather than commit prematurely to possibly
               unwarranted actions. It has not yet designated a permanent chief dele-
               gate to direct U.S. efforts in the IPCC nor agreed to specific targets and
               timetables for reducing or controlling greenhouse gas emissions pending
               further study.

               International environmental officials that we contacted were generally
               pleased with the initial pledges of U.S. commitments and resources
               applied in the EC. However, they also expressed some concern regard-
               ing the authority of designated U.S. spokespersons at international
               meetings and the adequacy of how US, efforts were being coordinated
               and would be sustained in future II’CC activity.




               Page 34                                           GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
Page 36   GAO/NSIAD-00-63   Global Warming
                                                                                                                 ~~~
                                                                                                                  ~
Bkief Chronology of Key Events Affecting
Global Climate Change


i 880. i 987         Average- global
                                -       temperature increased about 1 deqree Fahrenheit
1980 1988            1980, 1981, 1983, 1987, and 1988 were the 5 warmest years in the past century,
OctotJcr 1985        State of scientific knowledge and consensus on greenhouse gases and climate change summarized at
                    a joint UNEP/WMO/ICSU conference in Villach, Austria.
June 1986            Need to consider pokey optrons of greenhouse warming asserted during Senate hearings before a
                     subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. National Academy of Sciences asked
                    to review policy Issues of greenhouse gases.
September    1986   Group of senators requested EPA to prepare two reports for the Congress-one         report on the health
                    and environmental effects of climate change and one on policy options for stabilizing greenhouse gas
                    emissions at current levels
Juno fi987          WMO and UNEP agreed to establish rntergovernmental mechanism to assess available scientific data
                    and formulate resoonse strateaies for climate chanae.
Sept~mbcr 1987      Protocol to reduce CFC productron and emrssions IS sianed bv aroub of nations in Montreal. Canada.
December 1987       Global Clrmate Protection Act of 1987 (P,L. 100-204) enacted.
January 1988        President ISSLES report to the Congress on current government research activitres related to the
                    greenhouse effect.
Apnl i988           WMO/UNEP released World Climate Program impact studies report entitled Developing Policies For
                    Responding To Climate Change, based on the results of international workshops held in 1987.
June 1988           Director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies told Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
                    that there was a high probabrlity that global warming due to the greenhouse effect “is here.”
July 1988           Comprehensive bills addressing global warming introduced in the Congress.
November 1988       Initial meeting of the WMO/UNEP lntergovernmental~banel on Climate Change held in Geneva to
                    establrsh reporting plans                                                                        ~.~ .~~
January 1989        Montreal Protocol to reduce CFC production and emissions entered into force.
                    President submits to the Congress a “cross-cut”budget       and strategy for global change research.
Jan Fcb 1989        The IPCC Response Strategies Working Group convenes first meeting in Washington, D.C.
March 1989          EPA’s draft “stabrlization” report presented to the Congress,
                    President announced U.S. decision to join other nations in supporting elimination of CFCs by the year
                    2000.
May 1989            IPCC Response Strategies Working Group Steering Committee and subgroup meetings held in Geneva,
                    Switzerland
June 1989           Second meeting of full IPCC panel held in Nairobi.
October 1989        Second meeting of IPCC Response Strategies Working Group held in Geneva.
Novomber 1989       First internatronal conference to specificallv address alobal warmina held in the Netherlands.




                               Page 36                                                    GAO/NSIAD-90-63    Global Warming
A,rptMlix
   I. *“y--m-II
1,111
Views of NongovernmentalPolicy Analysis and
A&&or-y Organizations

                                  Representatives of various domestic policy analysis and advisory orga-
                                  nizations have testified before congressional committees, or have issued
                                  policy statements on global warming and related environmental issues.
                                  We contacted a number of organizations to obtain their views on the
                                  matters discussed in this report. The following comments are among
                                  some frequently voiced concerns.


Allis’ nce f’or Responsible       The Alliance, a coalition of CFCproducers and users desiring effective
WC Policy                         government policy on CFCuse, contends that vigorous action by the
     I                            IJnited States is needed to obtain broad participation in the Montreal
                                  Protocol. The Alliance believes that additional unilateral regulation of
                                  CFCSby the IJnitcd States beyond the Protocol’s measures is unwar-
      I                           ranted without global cooperation and would

                              l provide little, if any, added environmental protection benefit;
                              . injure I Jnited States industry, thus benefiting international competitors;
                                and
                              l undermine efforts to obtain an international resolution.

                                  Further, public policy development needs more scientific investigation
                                  and international cooperation to determine whether WCS pose a threat
                                  to the environment. Computer model calculations on the theoretical
                                  effects of uxs on ozone have been inconclusive and ever-changing, and
                                  do not, constitute a sound basis for regulation. There is ample time to
                                  conduct needed research and detect any threat before significant envi-
                                  ronmental harm occurs.

                                  Finally, the Alliance urged that policymakers should remain sensitive to
                                  the need for a responsible transition process to potential substitute
                                  chemicals, processes, and products, and to avoid disruptions that could
                                  t,hrcatcn the health, safety, and well-being of consumers and workers
                                  who rely on the CPCcompounds. It said CFCend-users should be
                                  encouraged to voluntarily conserve where economically and technologi-
                                  cally practical. Also, further CFCrestrictions were seen as severely
                                  impacting many industries and curtailing the supply of products. More-
                                  over, additional restrictions would force manufacturers to use substi-
                                  tutes that are less efficient, more costly, and potentially hazardous. In
                                  many cases, no CFCsubstitute exists.




                                  Page 37                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
                               Appendix II
                               Views of Nongovernmental     Policy Analysis
                               and Advisory Organizations




Catinegie Commission on        The Commission, established in April 1988, assesses the process by
Science, Technology, and       which the government encourages and incorporates scientific and tech-
                               nical knowledge into policy-making and decision-making. It is composed
Government                     of individuals with broad experience in government and in science and
                               technology. Through its work, the Commission has become concerned
                               that the existing levels of coordination in the administration may be
                               inadequate for the multidisciplinary nature of emerging issues, such as
                               global warming-effecting     the atmosphere, climate, and energy.

                               In an October 1988 report (Science & Technology and the President), the
                               Commission partly addressed this problem. It recommended that the
                               President take early action to upgrade science and technology functions
                               that support him by

                           .   elevating the existing position of Science Adviser to Assistant to the
                               President for Science and Technology, with full participation on White
                               House Councils in policy direction, budgetary choices, and key staff
                               appointments;
                               strengthening the Office of Science and Technology Policy, under the
                               direction of the Assistant, by filling vacant positions, increasing staff,
                               and expanding policy functions; and
                               providing a medium for drawing on and incorporating the advice of
                               experts from the scientific and technical community outside of the fed-
                               eral government on matters of national concern.


Chamber of Commerce of         The Chamber, a national federation of business organizations and
the United States              regional chambers of commerce, advocates recommendations of the bus-
                               iness community on national economic and social issues. The Chamber
                               believes that the United States should take a leadership role in the inter-
                               national community to vigorously investigate causes and effects of
                               global climate change, mitigation strategies and potential options. How-
                               ever, unilateral action by the United States is insufficient, wasteful, and
                               an unfair burden on its society.

                               Much of the future increase in “greenhouse gases” will come from devel-
                               oping countries. The United States cannot criticize or prevent third
                               world populations from emulating its own practices as they struggle to
                               raise their standards of living. The United States must promote global
                               cooperation in addressing this issue.




                               Page 38                                        GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
 4




                              Appendix II
                              Views of Nongovernmental     Policy Analysis
                              and Advisory Organizations




                              The Chamber stated that valid and effective policies based on merit, not
                              speculation, must follow a better scientific understanding of the magni-
                              tude and potential of these changes, along with an international dia-
                              logue on the issue. It maintained that inappropriate action would ask the
                              world to accept unneeded social, environmental and economic costs.
                              Similarly, inappropriate action would ask the world to suffer changes in
                              their habitats and economies, Any technological or regulatory steps
                              affecting climate are as serious as the changes they seek to rectify.

                              The Chamber believes it would be wrong not to take the global climate
                              change forecasts seriously. It would be an equally large mistake not to
                              understand the limitations of the forecasts and hence act imprudently.
                              The science of climate change theories are far from perfect and not at all
                              certain. Models must be revised as new data are developed, which will
                              shift predictions by an amount as yet unknown.

                              The proposed actions should

                          . educate people internationally about global climate change and the
                            choices that may be necessary to avoid it;
                          . support international cooperative research to advance everyone’s ability
                            to predict and act;
                          l implement changes that make economic, social and environmental sense
                            on their own merits;
                          . assist developing nations in joining the global efforts while maintaining
                            their economic growth; and
                          . encourage alternative energy technologies and conservation, and not
                            force uneconomical choices under the guise of climate change.

                              IZconomically, only the wealthier nations and societies can afford strict
                              environmental controls. All nations must have sustainable economic
                              development in order to afford controls. It would be unwise to establish
                              energy and environmental policies that are driven solely by concerns
                              over climate change, without a balance of social, strategic, and economic
                              issues.


Electric Power Research       The Institute, which provides research and technology development for
Institute                     the electric utility industry, maintains that the United States must rely
              Y               on multilateral action involving all nations. Third world countries, con-
                              cerned with their own development, present the greatest challenge as
                              the most significant contributors to future greenhouse gases. Increasing
                              populations and the corresponding energy demands in these developing


                              Page 39                                        GAO/NSlAD-90-63   Global Warming
                            Appendix II
                            Views of Nongovernmental     Policy Analysis
                            and Advisory Organizations




                            countries require that all nations cooperate. Consequently, unilateral
                            action by the IJnited States will achieve little in the overall global realm.
                            As a leading industrial power, the United States may well take the lead-
                            ership position, but little will be accomplished if other nations do not
                            follow.

                            Hecause of present scientific uncertainties, policymakers should not act
                            prematurely on the current information, without more discussion and
                            research. For example, general circulation models project mean global
                            temperatures moderately well when run against a 30-year temperature
                            record. However, these temperature estimates are of little use in evalu-
                            ating environmental impact in such areas as agriculture, forest ecosys-
                            tems, and hydrology, where regional estimates are needed. The models
                            perform less favorably when run against a 30-year temperature record
                            on a subregional basis, for example, for the continental and central
                            1Jnited States,


Th:e National Association   The Association, representing the industry and public policy interests of
of Manufacturers            about 13,500 1J.S.manufacturers, supports the multilateral approach of
                            the IIW, since the United States cannot solve this problem alone. If soci-
                            ety is asked to change energy use and lifestyles, it follows that any poli-
                            cies adopted will have to be sustained across national boundaries.

                            Global warming policy decisions should be made only after considera-
                            tion of the scientific understanding and potential socioeconomic impacts
                            of this phenomenon. Scientific evidence is still inconclusive, making fur-
                            ther research essential. As the first priority, scientific research should
                            confirm or refute the theory of unnatural global warming and provide a
                            better understanding of the contributing factors. Then the United States
                            should help educate the global society on the options available to miti-
                            gate potential effects, and the costs and relative effectiveness of each
                            measure. Given the uncertainty in science, policies must be favored that
                            make sense in their own right.

                             Care must be taken that actions do not create economic shocks to the
                             global economy. Precipitous changes in energy supply and demand could
                            jolt the industrialized countries’ economies and severely hurt third
                            world development. Scientists, governments, public policymakers, and
             Y
                            businesses must assure that international actions encourage economic
                            growth, along with sound environmental policies for all nations.




                            Page 40                                         GAO/NSlAD-90-63   Global Warming
-
                             Appendix II
                             Views of Nongovernmental     Policy Analysis
                             and Advisory Organizations




ThenNational Resources       The National Resources Defense Council, an environmental law organi-
I~kfpw Council               zation, uses the judicial system to protect the environment. The Council
                             believes that the IJnited States must lead the effort to minimize global
                             warming and that additional research is not necessary prior to action.
                             The IPCCand the IJ.S.-led response strategies working group will play a
                             key role in energizing and coordinating the international system. The
                             IPCCshould identify and promote short-range actions for the Western
                             industrialized nations and encourage the groundwork for rapid partici-
                             pation by the Eastern Bloc and major developing nations. It is crucial
                             that developing nations see that the actions needed to prevent global
                             warming are in their self-interest.

                             A global treaty is probably the long-term solution to the global warming
                             problem. The IJnited States should work through the IPCCand other
                             forums to promote a global treaty convention. Because of the success
                             with the Montreal Protocol, IJNEPwould be a logical forum for ncgotia-
                             tion. Such a treaty would

                         l   require net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to stabilize
                             the earth’s climate, while providing enforcement mechanisms;
                         l   distribute the responsibility for making reductions equitably among
                             nations; and
                         l   establish a mechanism for planning and coordinating research on a
                             global basis.

                             The treaty should commit wealthier countries to increased research, and
                             to providing development assistance to enable poorer countries to meet
                             the requirements of the agreement. Restricting assistance to countries
                             accepting the treaty obligations could create incentives for broad
                             participation.

                             Third world debt must be addressed in a way that enhances the environ-
                             ment, and promotes economic development. A direct link exists among
                             sound environmental practices, economic development, and third world
                             debt. Environmental policies, perceived as having high up-front costs,
                             appear expensive to people living on the economic edge. However, the
                             costs of failing to adequately manage crucial natural resources can be
                             far greater. The IJnited States should step up bilateral efforts through
                             AH), and use its influence with the multilateral development banks to
                             enable dcvcloping nations to sustain development and help prevent
                             global warming through improved energy efficiency and renewable
                             energy sources.



                             Page 4 1                                       GAO/NSIAD-SO-63   Global Warming
                                       Appendix II
                                       Views of Nongovernmental     Policy Analysis
                                       and Advisory Organizations




_-   i                    ..^-.
                                       Public policy must be directed from the highest levels, OSTPis primarily
                                       concerned with science and should not lead policy development coordi-
     /                                 nation among the agencies. The greenhouse problem involves economics
                                       and political issues, as well as science. In a letter to then President-elect
                                       Bush-IHueprint     for the Environment, Advice to the President-Elect
                                       from America’s Environmental Community-the             Council and other
                                       environmental organizations provided policy development recommenda-
                                       tions The Blueprint recommended that the President

                                   l   reorganize the Council on Environmental Quality into a Presidential
                                       staff on the environment, headed by a highly qualified director;
                                   l   establish high-level interagency groups to ensure action on broad issues,
                                       such as global warming, sustainable development in developing coun-
                                       tries, and population stabilization, that cut across agency lines; and
                                   l   assign members of the Presidential staff to ensure that the work of these
                                       groups does not, become mired in interagency disputes,

                                       The Blueprint further recommended the creation of a cabinet-level
                                       Department of Environmental Protection to replace the Environmental
                                       I’rotection Agency. Organizations with principal responsibility for deal-
                                       ing with environmental problems critical to this nation and the world
                                       should be placed in the highest councils of government. Additionally,
                                       the National Security Council, the domestic policy staff in the White
                                       IIousc, and OMH,must include people highly qualified to deal with envi-
                                       ronmcntal issues.

_        - ..__   ~- __-.-_. ^.~
Would Resources Institute              The Institute is a research and policy center that presents information
                                       about global resources and environmental conditions, analyzes emerging
                                       issues, and develops plausible policy responses to governments and
                                       international organizations in more than 50 countries.

                                       The Institute believes that the United States, as a contributor of onc-
                                       fifth of all greenhouse gases, has a special responsibility to demonstrate
                                       leadership and a commitment to find a solution. International leadership
                                       should unify environmental protection, resource use, and development.
                                       The key to an effective program is “sustainable development”-defined
                                       as development that maintains and enhances human and physical pro-
                                       ductive capacity without damaging the underlying resource base. The
                                       approach would require refocusing bilateral aid and influencing multi-
                                       lateral agencies. In addition, the United States should respond to the
                                       problem of climate change by implementing those options that are the
                                       most cost cffcct,ivc and that provide multiple benefits to society.


                                       Page 42                                         GAO/NSIAD-90-63   Global Warming
    Appendix II
    Views of Nongovernmental     Policy Analysis
    and Advisory Organizations




    The Institute maintains that the challenge facing policymakers and man-
    agers today is to identify policy options that will limit greenhouse gas
    emissions without substantially slowing economic growth over the long-
    term. Their task is complicated by the significant and persistent uncer-
    tainty in regional analyses of the impacts of climate change. They will
    need to surmount substantial methodological difficulties to develop new
    analytic approaches and tools. These tools will need to have long time
    horizons if scientists are to adequately evaluate policies that must be
    implemented over the next 50 or 100 years.

    Problem resolution involves decision-making, coordination, and the
    means to carry out appropriate action. To ensure priority attention, the
    President should appoint a White House counselor of Cabinet rank to
    develop and coordinate this overall effort. Alternatively, the President
    could elevate the head of the EPAto Cabinet rank. The President should
    provide the agency with a clear mandate to work with the executive
    agencies and the Congress to develop concrete proposals for approval by
    the President, and to monitor their implementation. Also, some organiza-
    tional changes are needed. The Council on Environmental Quality and
    OSTPmust be reconstituted, strengthened, and given a mandate.

    The Institute contends that the task for policymakers will not be simple
    or quick, and the choice is not between preventing or adapting to climate
    change. Policymakers will need to establish policies that, in the circum-
    stances peculiar to each region and nation, will slow the rate of change
    and allow societies to adapt to the climatic changes that cannot be
    avoided. Their task is politically difficult because the costs of prevent-
    ing or adapting to climate change are in the present and the potential
    benefits are both uncertain and far off. The Institute concludes that the
    risk of ignoring the challenge, however seductive, is enormous.




*




    Page 43                                        GAO/NSIAD-DO-63   Global Warming
     I
Apdendix III

l!&jor Contributors to This Report


N&ional Security and    Issues
                            (202)
                                275-b790
InGernational Affairs   Iiolf A. Nilsson, Eviluator-In-Charge
D$ision                 Wyley P. Neal, Evaluator
                        John M. Miller, Evaluator


                        William I’. Leavens, Evaluator
European Office         *JamesIZ. .Jones, Evaluator




               w




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