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Homelessness and Urban Sustainability: Implications of Changes to the US Health System on a Vulnerable Population
November 12, 2014
Washington, DC


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Considerations for the Future of Animal Science Research
September 8-9, 2014
Washington, DC

Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability: Green Growth: USA-Portugal
June 11, 2014
Washington, DC


Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability

May 20-21, 2014
Washington, DC


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June 2013

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

We are pleased to present you with Sustainability at the National Academies, a monthly update highlighting activities related to sustainable development from throughout the National Academies. Please visit our website for additional information on these and other activities at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability.

The Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability  provides a unique forum for sharing views, information, and analyses related to sustainability. The goal for the Roundtable is to mobilize, encourage, and use scientific knowledge and technology to help achieve sustainability goals and to support the implementation of sustainability practices. Through its activities, the Roundtable identifies new ways in which science and technology can contribute to sustainability. What follows is a brief summary of sustainability-related activities being conducted throughout the National Academies.

You are receiving this update based on your participation in ongoing or past activities of the Roundtable. If you would prefer not to receive future monthly updates or would like to be added to the recipient list, please contact Dylan Richmond at 202-334-2489 or Sustainability@nas.edu or visit our website. 
 

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NEWS


Report Launch: Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages
The National Research Council's (NRC) Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program has released a report that provides a decision framework which can be used by policymakers to examine the consequences, tradeoffs, synergies, and operational benefits of sustainability-oriented programs. A public launch event will be held July 24, 2013, at the University of California, Davis. For those interested in the event but unable to attend, the event will be webcast as well.

Science Academies Issue 'G-Science' Statements
Fourteen science academies issued joint statements to call attention to the role science, technology, and innovation can play in sustainable development, and to raise awareness of drug resistance in infectious agents including tuberculosis. The first statement issued in May 2013 highlights that demographics, urbanization, food and water security, clean and efficient use of energy and other resources, and literacy-including scientific literacy-are all issues that must be addressed if development is to be pursued in a sustainable manner.

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NEW REPORTS & SUMMARIES


Linkages Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages
A new National Research Council report provides a decision framework which can be used by policymakers to examine the consequences, tradeoffs, synergies, and operational benefits of sustainability-oriented programs. The committee identifies linkages among areas such as energy, water, land, and nonrenewable resources that are critical to promoting and encouraging long term sustainability within the federal policy framework, recognizing that progress towards sustainability involves many institutions. The report also recommends priority areas for interagency cooperation on specific sustainability challenges; identifies impediments to interdisciplinary, cross-media federal programs; and highlights scientific research gaps as they relate to these interdisciplinary, cross-media approaches to sustainability. A booklet provides a short summary of the report.

Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The tax system affects emissions primarily through changes in the prices of inputs and outputs or goods and services. Most of the tax provisions considered in this report relate directly to the production or consumption of different energy sources. However, there is a substantial set of tax expenditures called "broad-based" that favor certain categories of consumption-among them, employer-provided health care, owner-occupied housing, and purchase of new plants and equipment. This report examines both tax expenditures and excise taxes that could have a significant impact on GHG emissions.

Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward
This report reviews the science that underpins the Bureau of Land Management's oversight of free-ranging horses and burros on federal public lands in the western United States, concluding that constructive changes could be implemented. The Wild Horse and Burro Program has not used scientifically rigorous methods to estimate the population sizes of horses and burros, to model the effects of management actions on the animals, or to assess the availability and use of forage on rangelands. Greater transparency in how science-based methods are used to inform management decisions may help increase public confidence in the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Integrating Environmental Sustainability into Airport Contracts
The Transportation Research Board's (TRB) Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 42: Integrating Environmental Sustainability into Airport Contracts provides examples of how airports might help drive environmental sustainability performance improvements at their facilities by integrating environmental sustainability concepts into contracts with contractors, suppliers, and vendors.



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NEW PROJECTS


NAS Gulf of Mexico Program
The National Academy of Sciences' Gulf of Mexico program has appointed an advisory group to create a strategic vision and guide the program's development and implementation. Beginning in June 2013, an advisory group will work to develop a strategic vision and operational framework for the program. A series of outreach and scoping meetings will be held to help identify research opportunities and issues the program should address. A major early focus will be to establish relationships with local stakeholders and engage state environmental protection departments and other coastal research managers. Building on the NAS's core strength of bringing together a range of experts to provide the best possible advice on science, engineering, and health issues, the program will be guided by the advisory group for the first year. Once there is a clear strategic vision for the program, the advisory group's role will end, and guidance of the program will transition to a board appointed by the NAS.

Risk Management and Governance Issues in Shale Gas Development: Two Workshops
A steering committee established by the National Research Council will organize two workshops to examine the range of social and decision-making issues in risk characterization and governance related to gas shale development. Central themes will include risk governance in the context of (a) risks that emerge as shale gas development expands, and (b) incomplete or declining regulatory capacity in an era of budgetary stringency.

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS


Linkages

Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages
An ad hoc committee under the STS Program identifies linkages among areas such as energy, water, health, agricultural production, and biodiversity that are critical to promoting and encouraging long term sustainability within the federal policy framework, recognizing that progress towards sustainability necessarily involves other levels of government, the private sector, and civil society. The premise is that achieving sustainability is a systems challenge that cannot be realized by separately optimizing pieces of the system. The study builds upon existing and emerging expertise throughout the scientific and technological communities. It describes the nexus where domains intersect but in which existing institutions and disciplines often do not intersect.

Symposium on Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability Solutions   
An ad hoc committee under the STS Program held a three day public symposium, May 16-18, 2012, on fostering partnerships and linkages between disciplines, sectors, agencies and nations in sustainability science and innovation. The symposium featured invited presentations and discussions to showcase federal investments and institutional structures regarding sustainability, identify opportunities to help promote practices that would lead communities toward sustainability, and address communication issues needed to recognize science and innovation as central to the understanding and adoption of sustainable practices. Video of the sessions,  PowerPoint presentations, and the symposium summary are available on the STS website. Dissemination activities are being planned for 2013.

Sustainability and the U.S. EPA
An ad hoc committee under the STS program has authored a consensus report, released in August 2011, for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Office of Research and Development (ORD) to help define their efforts to incorporate sustainability concepts into agency programs. This report builds on existing sustainability efforts that ORD has conducted by strengthening the analytic and scientific basis for sustainability as it applies to human health and environmental protection within the Agency's decision-making process. Dissemination activities are being planned for 2013.

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UPCOMING MEETINGS


July 2013
Waste Management and Resource Efficiency in Transportation Summer Conference
July 14-17, 2013, Pittsburgh, PA
A Framework for Assessing Health, Environmental, and Social Effects of the Food System

July 16-17, 2013, Washington, DC
Assessing the Value of Research in Advancing National Goals
July 22-23, 2013, Washington, DC
Transportation: Driving a Sustainable Urban Environment
July 22-25, 2013, New Brunswick, NJ
Report Launch: Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages

July 24, 2013, Davis, CA
Global Environmental Health and Sustainable Development Innovation Collaborative Webinar
July 25, 2013
Assessment of Technologies for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase 2
July 31-August 1, 2013, Sacramento, CA  

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ONGOING ACTIVITIES


PNAS Sustainability Science, Special Features 
PNAS offers a series of special feature issues that highlight emerging fields in the physical, social, and biological sciences and are edited by leaders in the field. Special Features include a cluster of Perspectives and peer-reviewed research articles. As a service to readers, Special Features are freely available online from the date of publication. 

From the June 2013 issue:


To learn more about sustainability activities, both in the STS program and throughout the other boards and committees of the National Academies, please visit our webpage.

Preparation of this update was supported by the National Academies' George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science

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