About the National Science and Technology Council

President Clinton established the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) by Executive Order on November 23, 1993. This cabinet-level council is the principal means for the President to coordinate science, space, and technology policies across the Federal Government. The NSTC acts as a "virtual" agency for science and technology to coordinate the diverse parts of the Federal research and development enterprise. The NSTC is chaired by the President. Membership consists of the Vice President, the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads with significant science and technology responsibilities, and other senior White House officials.

    An important objective of the NSTC is the establishment of clear national goals for Federal science and technology investments in areas ranging from information technology and health research, to improving transportation systems and strengthening fundamental research. The Council prepares research and development strategies that are coordinated across Federal agencies to form an investment package that is aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals.

    To obtain additional information regarding the NSTC, contact the NSTC Executive Secretariat at 202-456-6100 (voice).

About the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

The Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) is one of nine committees under the NSTC, and is charged with improving coordination among Federal agencies involved in environmental and natural resources research and development, establishing a strong link between science and policy, and developing a Federal environment and natural resources research and development strategy that responds to national and international issues.

    To obtain additional information about the CENR, contact the CENR Executive Secretary at 202-482-5917 (voice).

About the Office of Science and Technology Policy

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was established by the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976. OSTP’s responsibilities include advising the President on policy formulation and budget development on all questions in which science and technology are important elements; articulating the President’s science and technology policies and programs; and fostering strong partnerships among Federal, State, and local governments, and the scientific communities in industry and academia.

To obtain additional information regarding the OSTP, contact the OSTP Administrative Office at 202-456-6004 (voice).


March 1999

Members of Congress:

    I am pleased to forward a copy of Our Changing Planet: The FY 2000 U.S. Global Change Research Program. This annual report was prepared under the auspices of the President’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

    The first edition of Our Changing Planet was transmitted to Congress as a supplement to the FY 1990 budget. Over the last decade, this program has brought about a fundamental improvement in our knowledge of global-scale environmental change. We have a much better understanding of the causes and consequences of ozone depletion, land cover change, patterns of climate variability (such as El Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomena in the tropical Pacific Ocean), and the longer-term climate change that stands as one of our greatest environmental challenges as we enter the 21st century.

    These research successes have led to a series of new investigations of climate change, ecological impacts, atmospheric chemistry, human dimensions of change, the global water cycle, and, most prominently, the global carbon cycle. A focused initiative in carbon cycle science, highlighted in the FY 2000 budget, is designed to provide the information needed for more effective management of carbon held in U.S. agricultural and forest lands. It will also examine the opportunities for enhancing carbon uptake, which holds promise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while providing environmental and economic benefits in the years ahead. The application of science to creating useful information for decision makers in the public and private sector is an increasingly important aspect of the USGCRP. The program is in the midst of its first National Assessment of the potential consequences of climate change for the United States. Nineteen workshops have been held around the country, and analyses of the impacts of climate change on our Nation’s agriculture, forests, water resources, coastal areas, and human health are underway. A National Assessment Report, scheduled for publication in early 2000, will bring together regional and sectoral analyses to create a national picture, identify adaptation and resource management options, and define further research needs.

    The USGCRP has been strongly backed by each Administration and Congress since its inception. The FY 2000 Budget Request demonstrates President Clinton’s continuing commitment to supporting the research that provides the knowledge we need to preserve environmental quality for future generations. The Administration looks forward to working with you as we carry on this bipartisan tradition of support for sound science.

    I commend all the public and private sector participants in this program, and particularly the members of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research who manage this effort for the participating agencies, for their contributions to this important research endeavor.

    Neal Lane