“As we undergo climate change, it’s going to be very difficult to understand the specific effects if we don’t know what the baseline is,” says a co-chair of a new report by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. The report says the federal government should launch a quadrennial integrated comprehensive assessment of the condition of and trends in US ecosystems, challenges to the sustainability of ecosystem services, and recommendations to support more effective protection of the nation’s threatened environmental capital. The report says the ecosystems assessment should be closely coordinated with the National Climate Assessment required by the Global Change Research Act.

Full text of the report, Sustaining Environmental Capital: Protecting Society and the Economy.

Also see post on Nature journal news blog July 22 (“Report calls for better ecological data management by US agencies”).

“It is difficult to stem degradation and the loss of environmental capital if we don’t have an accounting of what’s out there, what condition it’s in and what its real value is,” said Rosina Bierbaum, PCAST member and co-chair of the working group that led the study, at a press briefing.”