“You need a program that is broader than just expanding the NOAA National Weather Service to do climate forecasts,” we told Congressional Quarterly. “You need to be looking at agriculture, food security, forests, water resources, transportation infrastructure, coastal infrastructure, wetlands.” The periodic national climate change vulnerability assessment that would be required by the Waxman-Markey climate bill is a great idea, we said, but assigning the project to NOAA would circumvent the existing federal Climate Change Science Program, which sponsored the first National Assessment and brings together a wider array of resources.
Avery Palmer reported in Congressional Quarterly’s CQ Today on April 20 (“Energy Bill Would Create Climate Agency”):
A sweeping energy bill under consideration by a House panel not only would try to curb global warming but also would create a federal program on adapting to climate changes that may be inevitable.
Draft legislation recently unveiled by Henry A. Waxman , D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would set up a national climate service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide information on the effects of climate change.
Jane Lubchenco, who was named NOAA administrator by President Obama, is making a national climate service one of her priorities.
“We need to also be preparing for climate changes that are already under way and are going to increase with time,” she said in an interview. “This was a concept that to me was a no-brainer.”
The goal of the new service would be to help states, localities and businesses factor climate change into their long-term planning.
See our earlier posts on the National Climate Service concept:
CQ notes that questions of “turf” remain unresolved in the development of the climate service concept:
The legislation could…spark a turf battle over the program’s structure and leadership. Lubchenco contends that NOAA’s experience with the National Weather Service and its sophisticated climate models should make it the lead agency, working with NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Department and others.
But Rick Piltz, director of Climate Science Watch, an advocacy and public education group, said the concept is so broad in scope that it may not make sense to place a climate service inside NOAA.
“You need a program that is broader than just expanding the NOAA national weather service to do climate forecasts,” he said. “You need to be looking at agriculture, food security, forests, water resources, transportation infrastructure, coastal infrastructure, wetlands.”
The bill would also require NOAA to publish a national assessment on climate change vulnerabilities every four years. Similar assessments are now required under the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (PL 101-606), but they are managed under a program that coordinates the work of 13 federal agencies.
“The national climate change vulnerability assessment is a great idea, but it circumvents the existing Climate Change Science Program,” Piltz said.
CQ copyright 2007
Read the full CQ article here.