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Climate Assessment Advisory Committee Up and Running

Updated: Feb 12, 2018

Climate Assessment Advisory Committee Re-Launches

With Support From NY State and Partners

Science advisory panel reconvenes to support climate preparedness.


Here is an slightly amended excerpt from our press release on Jan 4th:


As part of initiatives described in his “State of the State” address on January 3rd, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that NY State was taking the lead in reviving a climate change advisory committee that the Trump Administration allowed to lapse on August 20, 2017. The committee was preparing recommendations to Federal climate science agencies on how to better inform decisions likely to be affected by climate change, such as investment by states, cities, and private-sector firms in transportation, water resources, energy, and related infrastructures. New York State is joining with Columbia University, the American Meteorological Society, and others in providing financial, professional, and logistical support for this effort.


“We know that many states and cities are looking for better information to advance their climate preparedness” said Dr. Richard Moss, Chair of the committee and a Visiting Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “We are extremely grateful that Governor Cuomo, on behalf of NY State, is joining with others in the continuation of the committee’s work.”


The core question to be addressed is how to enable stakeholders, including state and city governments and the private sector, to work alongside the Federal government to produce and use rigorous scientific information to help prepare their communities for a changing climate. Changing patterns of extreme events such as droughts, wildfires, floods, and storms make basing such decisions on past climate records risky.


Federal efforts currently emphasize making information available through “National Climate Assessment” (NCA) reports, issued approximately every four years. While the NCA serves as a foundational, rigorous basis for climate preparedness tools and risk analyses for the United States, planners and decision makers indicate more help is needed to make this information usable and accessible.


The recommendations from the committee with provide advice on exactly that, focusing on improving engagement of civil society more broadly, and aiming to advance a “sustained” assessment process that provides essential scientific information, innovative applications, and best practices. A primary approach of the sustained assessment is decentralizing the process of assessing and applying climate science - building capacity across the US to produce and use associated products and data. The overall goal is to identify climate risks and increase preparedness of communities, livelihoods, and activities.


“Building on this crucial initial support, the committee will use the process of completing its recommendations to engage additional states, cities, scientific associations, and private sector firms concerned about soaring costs of climate-related disasters,” said Moss. He added that the committee will build on related activities of researchers and adaptation professionals, that its recommendations will be subject to public and expert review, and that there will be multiple opportunities for public engagement.


Under a “sustained assessment” approach, a wide range of private sector consultancies, university-based scientists and nongovernmental organizations would work with decision makers in regions and sectors to tailor information from the assessment to their needs. The committee’s recommendations and associated activities will advance a sustained assessment that supports development of information that is customized for decision making, including maps, data sets, and decision support tools. The sustained assessment approach would also support enhanced communication between producers and users of scientific information and incorporate insights from experience of users engaged in adaptation; all in an effort to build the capacity of a variety of stakeholders to enhance resilience to climate change.


The advisory committee was chartered by the Department of Commerce through the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) http://sncaadvisorycommittee.noaa.gov and was in the middle of a process to prepare a special report to the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) http://sncaadvisorycommittee.noaa.gov/Current-Activities when it was disbanded. The advisory committee will now continue its work as an independent body, delivering the recommendations to states and other stakeholders, in additional to providing to providing ideas to Federal science agencies on the types of information and programs needed. The committee is in the process of reconstituting and will include experts from the private sector, academia, and state/local government agencies who serve as volunteers in their individual capacities.

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