It's an exhilarating time for climate researchers: The pressing questions of when the greenhouse effect will begin to be felt and how severe it will be have thrust their work into the eyes of the public and the policymakers. But while high visibility has injected money into the climate research field and imbued scientists with a sense of social relevance, it's also brought frustrations.

Climatologists say the frustrations include dealing with impatient politicians and the media, who often trivialize the issue, cast it falsely as a raging scientific debate, and demand quick answers and simple courses of action. And while many scientists see opportunities expanding for young researchers, others worry that once a politically expedient "solution" is reached to deal with the emissions of greenhouse gases--regardless of the state of the actual research--the funding bubble will burst, just as acid rain research funding did two years ago.

Stephen Schneider, a...

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