Global Climate Change Briefing Book
Congressional Research Service
Redistributed as a service of the National Library for the Environment


Wayne A. Morrissey

Scientific theory about human-induced global climate change spans more than a century. Political interest, from the perspective of whether there might be a valid scientific basis for governments of the world to respond to potential human interference with Earth's climate system, has emerged during the last three decades. Approaches have ranged from determining the means to respond to what some suggest could be a return to ice age-like conditions, to confronting a possible greenhouse gas warming of the planet from industrial pollution. CRS Report RL30522, Global Climate Change: A Survey of Scientific Research and Policy Reports, is intended to guide the reader through U.S. global climate change policy from the passage of the National Climate Program Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-367) through the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) was opened for signatures, up through negotiations and scientific debate leading to the 1997 U.N. Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. It offers a summary of scientific research on global climate change and related U.S. policy and identifies what many consider to be important milestones in the international policy debate on global climate change. Major reports are listed that have underpinned such debates and have advised international decision makers. Also, major international meetings at which the United States had diplomatic representation are included as well as a chronology that serves as historical background for CRS Issue Brief IB89005, Global Climate Change, [pdf: 8/13/01] [html: 4/11/01] which discusses current U.S. policy and science issues since the opening of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for signatures, continuing negotiations on climate change, and legislative activity on the issue. For more information on international negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol see CRS Report RL30692, Global Climate Change Treaty.

Page last updated January 12, 2001. By NCSE: 9/6/01

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