Tag Archives: pollution

Resources to Act, Innovate, and Implement Change for a Better Earth

Celebrate Earth Day by exploring resources that outline actions we can take to address Earth’s biggest challenges. Our publications present guidance for policymakers, communities, and even individuals on topics such as climate change, pollution in the ocean, and sustainable ways to provide power, feed people, and provide services to cities and communities. As always, all are free to read online and download.

Biodiversity at Risk: Today's Choices Matter

Biodiversity at Risk: Today’s Choices Matter

A growing body of evidence has sounded the alarm that the biodiversity that supports and sustains life on Earth is at risk. Habitat destruction, resource exploitation, and climate change are among the many stressors that have put 1 million species under threat of extinction and sharply reduced the populations of many plant and animal species. …[more]

A Research Strategy for Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration

A Research Strategy for Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration

As of 2021, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached historically unprecedented levels, higher than at any time in the past 800,000 years. Worldwide efforts to reduce emissions by creating a more efficient, carbon-free energy system may not be enough to stabilize the climate and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Carbon dioxide …[more]

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste

An estimated 8 million metric tons (MMT) of plastic waste enters the world’s ocean each year – the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute. Plastic waste is now found in almost every marine habitat, from the ocean surface to deep sea sediments to the ocean’s vast mid-water region, as well as the Great …[more]

Motivating Local Climate Adaptation and Strengthening Resilience: Making Local Data Trusted, Useful, and Used

Motivating Local Climate Adaptation and Strengthening Resilience: Making Local Data Trusted, Useful, and Used

Local communities are already experiencing dire effects caused by climate change that are expected to increase in frequency, intensity, duration, and type. Public concern about climate-related challenges is increasing, available information and resources on climate risks are expanding, and cities across the country and the globe are developing …[more]

Enhancing Community Resilience through Social Capital and Connectedness: Stronger Together!

Enhancing Community Resilience through Social Capital and Connectedness: Stronger Together!

Disasters caused by natural hazards and other large-scale emergencies are devastating communities in the United States. These events harm individuals, families, communities, and the entire country, including its economy and the federal budget. This report identifies applied research topics, information, and expertise that can inform action and …[more]

The Challenge of Feeding the World Sustainably: Summary of the US-UK Scientific Forum on Sustainable Agriculture

The Challenge of Feeding the World Sustainably: Summary of the US-UK Scientific Forum on Sustainable Agriculture

The need for sustainable agriculture is becoming ever more significant. The world’s population is still increasing, requiring more from our agricultural systems. Malnutrition and diet-related illnesses are present in nearly all societies. At the same time, agriculture plays a significant role in some of the biggest environmental challenges that …[more]

Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System

Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System

The world is transforming its energy system from one dominated by fossil fuel combustion to one with net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary anthropogenic greenhouse gas. This energy transition is critical to mitigating climate change, protecting human health, and revitalizing the U.S. economy. To help policymakers, businesses, …[more]

Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy—2025-2035

Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy—2025-2035

From daily commutes to cross-country road trips, millions of light-duty vehicles are on the road every day. The transportation sector is one of the United States’ largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel is an important cost for drivers. The period from 2025-2035 could bring the most fundamental transformation in the 100-plus …[more]

Global Change Research Needs and Opportunities for 2022-2031

Global Change Research Needs and Opportunities for 2022-2031

The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a collection of 13 Federal entities charged by law to assist the United States and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. Global Change Research Needs and Opportunities for 2022-2031 advises the USGCRP on how best to …[more]

A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level

A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level

Approximately 30 percent of the edible food produced in the United States is wasted and a significant portion of this waste occurs at the consumer level. Despite food’s essential role as a source of nutrients and energy and its emotional and cultural importance, U.S. consumers waste an estimated average of 1 pound of food per person per day at …[more]

Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance

Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance

Climate change is creating impacts that are widespread and severe for individuals, communities, economies, and ecosystems around the world. While efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts are the first line of defense, researchers are exploring other options to reduce warming. Solar geoengineering strategies are designed to cool …[more]

A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are critical to ocean and human life because they provide food, living area, storm protection, tourism income, and more. However, human-induced stressors, such as overfishing, sediment, pollution, and habitat destruction have threatened ocean ecosystems globally for decades. In the face of climate change, these ecosystems now face …[more]

A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

Coral reef declines have been recorded for all major tropical ocean basins since the 1980s, averaging approximately 30-50% reductions in reef cover globally. These losses are a result of numerous problems, including habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, disease, and climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions and the associated increases in …[more]

Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United States

Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United States

Cities have experienced an unprecedented rate of growth in the last decade. More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas, with the U.S. percentage at 80 percent. Cities have captured more than 80 percent of the globe’s economic activity and offered social mobility and economic prosperity to millions by clustering creative, …[more]

Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Along Existing Roads—ActiveTrans Priority Tool Guidebook

Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Along Existing Roads—ActiveTrans Priority Tool Guidebook

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 803: Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Along Existing Roads—ActiveTrans Priority Tool Guidebook presents a tool and guidance that may be used to help prioritize improvements to pedestrian and bicycle facilities, either …[more]

For Earth Day, Resources to Communicate the Science of Climate Change

The impacts of human activities—particularly emissions of carbon dioxide, but also including other greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and population growth—are so vast that they will largely control the future of the Earth’s climate system. This future could bring a relatively mild change in climate, or it could deliver an extreme change from today’s climate to entirely different climate conditions that will last many thousands of years. The eventual course of the climate system over millennia will be determined largely by the actions taken this century by governments, businesses, and individuals around the world.

Earth and its residents are entering a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene—in which human activities are a primary force affecting climate. Our actions this century to reduce or increase greenhouse gas emissions will determine whether the Anthropocene is a relatively mild event or a severe transition extending over many thousands of years.

Society is beginning to make important choices regarding future greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia considers the projected climate changes and impacts that would occur if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were stabilized at particular concentration levels. While this book does not recommend or justify any particular stabilization target, it does provide important scientific insights about the relationships among emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, and impacts.

The books from the America’s Climate Choices series address the serious and sweeping issues associated with global climate change, including the science and technology challenges involved, and provide advice on actions and strategies the nation can take to respond. Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, and Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change are an authoritative set of analyses to inform and guide responses to climate change across the nation.

These books and others from the National Research Council are available to read online at no charge. The catalog pages for these books contain links to videos and other materials that are great teacher resources. If you teach at the undergraduate or graduate level, visit www.nap.edu/contact.html to request an examination copy of these or any other titles that you feel would be appropriate to use as a textbook for a course.

Climate Stabilization Targets Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth…
Details

 

Advancing the Science of Climate Change Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the…
Details

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning…
Details

 

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

Global climate change is one of America’s most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity–especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change–is affecting global average…
Details

 

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The proportion of precipitation that falls as…
Details

 

Ocean Acidification Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean…
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National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces

In response to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), the National Research Council appointed a committee operating under the auspices of the Naval Studies Board to study the national security implications of climate change for U.S. naval forces. In conducting…
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Understanding Earth's Deep Past Understanding Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future

There is little dispute within the scientific community that humans are changing Earth’s climate on a decadal to century time-scale. By the end of this century, without a reduction in emissions, atmospheric CO2 is projected to increase to levels that Earth…
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Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements

The world’s nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor…
Details

 

Modeling the Economics of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Modeling the Economics of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Summary of a Workshop

Models are fundamental for estimating the possible costs and effectiveness of different policies for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is a wide array of models to perform such analysis, differing in the level of technological detail, treatment…
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Monitoring Climate Change Impacts Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems

The stresses associated with climate change are expected to be felt keenly as human population grows to a projected 9 billion by the middle of this century, increasing the demand for resources and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, information to assess…
Details

 

Global Sources of Local Pollution Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States

Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long distances and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent….
Details

 

Science for Climate Change Decision-Making

Earlier this month the World Meteorological Organization announced that the year 2010 is almost certain to rank among the top three warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850. WMO’s data show that 2001-2010 is the warmest ten-year period on record. In November WMO reported that concentrations of the main greenhouse gases have reached their highest levels recorded since pre-industrial times.

This year, the National Research council produced a number of studies that directly address climate change and its effects. Advancing the Science of Climate Change reviews the current scientific evidence regarding climate change and examines the status of the nation’s scientific research efforts. It also describes the critical role that climate change science, broadly defined, can play in developing knowledge and tools to assist decision makers as they act to respond to climate change. The report explores seven cross-cutting research themes that should be included in the nation’s climate change research enterprise, and recommends a number of actions to advance the science of climate change—a science that includes and increasingly integrates across the physical, biological, social, health, and engineering sciences.

Advice on prudent short-term actions and long-term strategies to deal with the effects of climate change can be found in the companion reports Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, and Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change.These titles and others from the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate provide information and direction for research and decision making.

Advancing the Science of Climate Change Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the…
Details

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Some extreme weather events such as heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The…
Details

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Climate change, driven by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses serious, wide-ranging threats to human societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning…
Details

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

Global climate change is one of America’s most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity–especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change–is affecting global average…
Details

Climate Stabilization Targets Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth…
Details

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements

The world’s nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor…
Details

Monitoring Climate Change Impacts Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems

The stresses associated with climate change are expected to be felt keenly as human population grows to a projected 9 billion by the middle of this century, increasing the demand for resources and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, information to assess…
Details

Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability

More accurate forecasts of climate conditions over time periods of weeks to a few years could help people plan agricultural activities, mitigate drought, and manage energy resources, amongst other activities; however, current forecast systems have limited…
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When Weather Matters When Weather Matters: Science and Service to Meet Critical Societal Needs

The past 15 years have seen marked progress in observing, understanding, and predicting weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by other nations and failed to…
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Global Sources of Local Pollution Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States

Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long distances and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent….
Details

Uncertainty Management in Remote Sensing of Climate Data Uncertainty Management in Remote Sensing of Climate Data: Summary of a Workshop

Great advances have been made in our understanding of the climate system over the past few decades, and remotely sensed data have played a key role in supporting many of these advances. Improvements in satellites and in computational and data-handling techniques…
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