Congress takes step to create a National Climate Service – but beware of shackles and poison pills

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On May 12 a House subcommittee approved a bill (H.R. 2407) that would create a National Climate Service (NCS) in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with a mandate to provide usable information to decisionmakers and the public about the climate conditions we can expect to see and will need to plan and prepare for in a climate-disrupted world.  The bill is an improvement over, and is likely to be offered as a replacement for, similar provisions in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s cap-and-trade bill that is now the subject of heated debate.  But two amendments adopted in the mark-up by the House Science and Technology Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee weaken it and could undermine the NCS going forward.  These provisions should be dealt with when the bill is considered by the full Science Committee next week.

post by Anne Polansky

The notion of creating a National Climate Service has been kicked around within climate change policy circles for years, but only recently grew real legs.  While NOAA has been slowly building its capacity to assist communities and decisionmakers by informing them of what sorts of climate conditions to expect and when and where to expect them, there has been no formal program codified by law or regulation.  This may soon change, as the US Congress is now taking a serious look at the matter as part of a much larger Congressional focus on climate change legislation, most particularly on an elaborate means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, “cap-and-trade.” 

On May 5 the Energy and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing on this topic, with the new NOAA Administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, as the lead witness. 

  Expanding Climate Services at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Developing the National Climate Service

Then yesterday morning (May 13) the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment “marked up” (amended) and approved by voice vote a “committee print” draft bill (it had not yet been formally introduced and given a bill number). The full Committee will take it up on May 20.  A summary of the bill, as amended, is now posted on the Science Committee’s website, and pasted below.  When relevant sections of the House Energy and Commerce Committee cap-and-trade bill are referred to the Science Committee for consideration (likely to happen soon), the Science Committee may strike the E&C Committee’s National Climate Service provisions and replace them with their own version—a common practice when the topics being considered cross Committee jurisdictional lines. 

MAY 15 UPDATE:  The bill has now been formally introduced, by House Science Committee Chair Bart Gordon (D-TN), and has a number:  H.R. 2407.  The exact bill language, as reported out of subcommittee, appears at the end of this post. 

The bill as it currently stands is much improved over anything we have seen so far, and captures many of the points we have been making.  See:

Plans are underway to create a National Climate Service – But what does that mean, exactly?

CSW weighs in with NOAA advisory board on criteria for forming a National Climate Service

The bill charges NOAA with establishing a National Climate Service, which, in reality, means that NOAA will be able to expand and grow its existing suite of climate service capabilities (if the Congress bumps up the funding), primarily through a set of institutions called Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs) and Regional Climate Centers, scattered in various locations throughout the US.  The bill does not address climate services in other agencies, per se, but does require NOAA to reach out to and exchange information and data resources with other agencies (such as the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Geological Survey).  Just how these interagency partnerships and collaborative efforts will work in practice is yet to be seen—the bill leaves it to the agencies to figure this out on their own with no interagency coordination body, for example, in the White House. 

Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) made the following statement in the press release announcing the outcome of the markup:

“In a climate that is changing, it is imperative that we have reliable information to help us adapt and respond to these changes.  We must take a more strategic approach and structure the delivery of climate information and services to benefit the nation. A National Climate Service will support regional, state, local and tribal governments, businesses, and individuals in their efforts to make better decisions and plan for the future.”

Six amendments were offered—two offered and subsequently withdrawn by Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and four that passed by voice vote.  Two of these amendments added significant value to the bill.  One offered by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) requires the NOAA Administrator to prepare a report to Congress, due six months after the bill’s enactment, that describes the existing set of stakeholders and users being served by NOAA and what sorts of products and services are being provided, and also describes needs for additional products and services NOAA could provide with an expanded National Climate Service. 

The other good amendment was offered by the Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA). It requires the NOAA Administrator to prepare a formal Plan laying out how NOAA intends to implement a National Climate Service, addressing current gaps in meeting current needs, the respective roles of the various line offices within NOAA (such as the National Weather Service and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research), how NOAA will ensure data quality, and—importantly—how NOAA intends to determine the needs of users and how it will engage in two-way dialogues with users to “inform climate product and service development and delivery of authoritative, timely, and useful information on climate variability and change and the effects on local, State, regional, national, and global scales.”  CSW has been hammering this point in our steady flow of advice and recommendations to the new administration and the Congress, and especially appreciate the significance of this requirement for a written Plan that must be published in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period to allow stakeholders and existing and potential users of climate services to make their views known to NOAA before the final plan is submitted, six months after enactment.  The Plan will also give Congress a potentially powerful tool for effective oversight—in a year or two, the Committees with jurisdiction should hold oversight hearings to determine whether or not NOAA is living up to the terms in the Plan.   

Two amendments agreed to yesterday are potentially problematic, and should be removed or otherwise dealt with when the bill goes to full Committee markup next week.  The first was a seemingly supportive amendment offered by Rep. Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) that authorizes NOAA to establish (additional) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) Teams through a competitive, peer-reviewed process.  One of the requirements, for example, is laudable and even necessary—that the Team show how it will “integrate social and physical science research to address the effects of climate variability and change on the economic, ecological, and social systems in the region.”  However, the hook is that each Team is authorized to receive funding from NOAA for a period of five years after winning the award, and can receive no more than $300,000 a year.  This pathetically low authorized funding level serves as a cap and may needlessly shackle the program.  The fiscal conservatives on the Committee were in support of this amendment, and, apparently, so were all of the members, Democrat and Republican alike.  The amendment passed easily. We wonder, why did the Committee Chair let this one pass?  It is quite conceivable that these RISAs will be called upon to greatly expand their current workload, already underfunded, and this artificial limit, which was not necessary at all for this bill, will hamper the ability of the RISAs to meet growing needs for climate services. This authorization level should be removed, or at least raised very substantially.

The second potentially very troublesome amendment was offered by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), a veteran Member of Congress who serves as the ranking Republican on the full Science Committee alongside the Chair, Bart Gordon (D-TN).  Rep. Hall is not known for his pro-environment track record; quite the opposite, in fact.  His amendment adds what could be a so-called “poison pill” to the mix.  It’s short, as amendments go, but not so sweet. 

The exact wording is important—he adds two additional requirements that NOAA must meet.  NOAA is to:

•  “ensure operational quality control of all National Climate Service products including an open and transparent accounting of all of the assumptions built into the global, national regional, and local weather and climate computer models upon which such climate services are based;” and

• “ensure a continuous level of high quality data collected through a national observation and monitoring infrastructure by performing regular maintenance and verification and periodic upgrades.”

On the face of it, these seem harmless enough, even prudent and responsible.  The Chair made a remark about the importance of high quality data and information and noted that the Congress expects all of the agencies to produce nothing short of the highest quality data and information.  No one dissented or made a critical remark.  However, our read of this raises a red flag, given our witnessing of the various ways that corporate lobbyists and global warming denialist “free market” ideologues have misused the Data Quality Act to file interventions designed to throw monkey-wrenches into the climate science and policy development works.  The requirement that should make climate scientists and modelers take note is the one requiring the “open and transparent accounting of all of the assumptions” going into climate models.  Would National Climate Service advisory activities that draw on extensive scientific work based on various modeling studies be subjected to procedural hurdles that involve going down into the detailed technical weeds of every study in the scientific literature and debating all methodological decisions with whomever chose to issue a challenge? Scientists are essentially being asked to defend the often highly complex process they use to arrive at their best judgment, often a combination of empirical evidence and observations, and models that all have a large number of “assumptions” built into them.  We can imagine a scenario in which NOAA is engaged in providing information, data, advice, and counsel to a community, and some outfit with less than pure motives, or even a Member of Congress, invokes the “open and transparent assumptions” clause to either slow or completely stop the provision of these valuable services by tying scientists and program managers up in procedural knots and litigious arguments about modeling assumptions. 

In our view, this amendment is potentially a sneak attack on the science community in the guise of being pro-science—a classic disinformation campaign tactic.  It should be removed from the bill at the May 20 mark-up.  The issue is not that NOAA is producing substandard data and information with faulty models based on faulty assumptions.  Rather, it is that this amendment obviously is in line with Mr. Hall’s openly stated political intention—to oppose and undermine climate change legislation—which has nothing to do with scientific integrity.  This should have been made more obvious before the mark-up session began and the Dems should have had their act together to push back on the potential “unintended consequences” of this particular amendment.  If this is not cleaned up in the House, it should be addressed in the Senate, but we are hoping it doesn’t get that far. Members, NOAA leaders, scientists—take note.

The Science Committee’s bill summary:

Section 1. Short Title

The National Climate Service Act of 2009

Section 2. Purpose

Designates the purpose of the legislation to be the establishment of a National Climate Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to serve three primary purposes: to advance understanding of climate variability and change at all geographic scales; to provide forecasts, warnings, and information to the public on climate variability and change and its effects on the public; and to support development of adaptation and response plans by Federal agencies; State, local and tribal governments, the private sector and the public.
Section 3. Definitions

Defines terms used in the legislation. Advisory Committee is the Climate Service Advisory Committee established in Section 5 of the bill. Director is defined as the Director of the Climate Service Office. A Representative serving on the advisory committee is defined as an individual who is not an employee of the Federal Government and who is appointed to the committee to represent the views of an entity or entities outside the Federal Government. Special Government Employee is defined with the same meaning as in section 202(a) of title 18, United States Code. The Under Secretary is defined as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.
Section 4. National Climate Service.

Directs the Under Secretary to establish the National Climate Service and establish a Climate Service Office. Defines five functions of the Office: to coordinate the activities within NOAA’s line offices that are relevant to climate services; ensure distribution of data and information on national, regional, and local climate variability and change; ensure that new technologies, information, and tools developed through research are incorporated into the operational offices at NOAA; ensure exchange of information with other Federal agencies; ensure collaboration with the State, local, and tribal governments; academic, non-profits, and the private sector; and ensure exchange of research and information between the Climate Service and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Directs the Under Secretary to operate the National Climate Service through a national center, the Climate Service Office and a network of regional, state, and local outlets. Directs the Under Secretary to maintain the network Regional Climate Centers and defines their role in the Climate Service. Directs the Under Secretary to maintain a network of Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs) programs and defines their role in the Climate Service.

Section 4 also directs the Under Secretary to utilize the assets and expertise of other offices and programs at NOAA that produce information or products relevant to the Climate Service including: the National Weather Service, the National Environmental Data and Information Service, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); and other NOAA offices and programs.

Section 4 defines five core elements of the National Climate Service to include: conducting analyses, studies, research, and observations relating to the effects of weather and climate on the public; carrying out observations, data collection, and monitoring of weather and climate; providing information and technical support for Federal agencies, regional State, tribal and local government efforts to produce adaptation and response plans; developing systems for management and dissemination of data, information, and assessments; and conducting research to improve understanding of climate and to improve climate services.
Section 5. Climate Service Advisory Committee

Directs the Administrator to establish a Climate Service Advisory Committee to operate in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires balance, public notice of meetings, and publicly available documentation of the Committee’s work. This section also requires the establishment of at least two Subcommittees of the full Committee; one to focus on the science and technical issues associated with developing and improving climate information and products; and the other to advise on the types of products needed and the best ways to deliver them to ensure their relevance to decision makers and the user community.

Section 6. Repeal

Repeals the National Climate Program Act of 1978.

BILL TEXT – H.R. 2407

National Climate Service Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)

HR 2407 IH

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2407

To establish a National Climate Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 14, 2009

Mr. GORDON of Tennessee introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology

A BILL

To establish a National Climate Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `National Climate Service Act of 2009’.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to establish a National Climate Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to—

        (1) advance understanding of climate variability and change at the global, national, and regional levels;

        (2) provide forecasts, warnings, and other information to the public on variability and change in weather and climate that affect geographic areas, natural resources, infrastructure, economic sectors, and communities; and

        (3) support development of adaptation and response plans by Federal agencies, State, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and the public.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

        (1) ADVISORY COMMITTEE- The term `Advisory Committee’ means the Climate Service Advisory Committee established under section 5.

        (2) DIRECTOR- The term `Director’ means the Director of the Climate Service Office.

        (3) REPRESENTATIVE- The term `representative’ means an individual who is not a full-time or part-time employee of the Federal Government and who is appointed to an advisory committee to represent the views of an entity or entities outside the Federal Government.

        (4) SPECIAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE- The term `Special Government Employee’ has the same meaning as in section 202(a) of title 18, United States Code.

        (5) UNDER SECRETARY- The term `Under Secretary’ means the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

SEC. 4. NATIONAL CLIMATE SERVICE.

    (a) In General- The Under Secretary, building upon the resources of the National Weather Service and other weather and climate programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shall establish the National Climate Service.

    (b) Climate Service Office- The Under Secretary shall establish a Climate Service Office. The Climate Service Office shall—

        (1) coordinate programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to ensure the timely production and distribution of data and information on national, regional, and local climate variability and change over all time scales relevant for planning and response, including intraseasonal, interannual, decadal, and multidecadal time periods;

        (2) ensure exchange of information between the research and operational offices at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to identify research needs for improving climate services and ensure the timely and orderly transition of research findings, improved technologies, models, and other tools to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s operations;

        (3) ensure operational quality control of all National Climate Service products including a transparent and open accounting of all the assumptions built into the global, national, regional, and local weather and climate computer models upon which such climate services and products are based;

        (4) ensure a continuous level of high-quality data collected through a national observation and monitoring infrastructure by performing regular maintenance and verification, and periodic upgrades;

        (5) serve as liaison to and exchange information with other Federal agencies that provide climate services in order to—

            (A) ensure the timely dissemination of information on weather and climate produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to other Federal agencies;

            (B) ensure that data and information collected by other Federal agencies relevant to improving climate services are made available to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;

            (C) facilitate the development and delivery of climate services to relevant stakeholders; and

            (D) obtain information from other Federal agencies to improve the development and dissemination by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of information on climate and weather to other Federal agencies for the development of climate service products by those agencies;

        (6) ensure cooperation and collaboration, as appropriate, of the National Climate Service with State, local, and tribal governments, academic and nonprofit research organizations, and private sector entities, including weather information providers and other stakeholders; and

        (7) ensure exchange of data, information, and research with the United States Global Change Research Program to support the development of assessments required under the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (15 U.S.C. 2921 et seq.).

    (c) National Climate Service-

        (1) IN GENERAL- The Under Secretary shall operate the National Climate Service through a national center, the Climate Service Office, and a network of regional and local facilities, including the established regional and local offices of the National Weather Service, 6 Regional Climate Centers, the offices of the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program, the National Integrated Drought Information System, and any other National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-supported regional and local entities, as appropriate.

        (2) REGIONAL CLIMATE CENTERS PROGRAM- The Under Secretary shall maintain a network of 6 Regional Climate Centers to work cooperatively with the offices of State climatologists to—

            (A) collect and exchange data and information needed to characterize, understand, and forecast regional and local weather and climate;

            (B) facilitate collection and exchange of data and information between the States and Federal Government on weather and climate in conjunction with the National Climatic Data Center;

            (C) support research and observations;

            (D) obtain input on stakeholder needs for weather and climate information and products; and

            (E) support State and local adaptation and response planning.

        (3) REGIONAL INTEGRATED SCIENCES AND ASSESSMENTS PROGRAM- The Under Secretary shall maintain a network of offices as part of the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program. Such offices shall engage in cooperative research, development, and demonstration projects with the academic community on climate products, technologies, models, and other tools to improve understanding and forecasting of regional and local climate variability and change and the effects on economic activities, natural resources, and water availability, and other effects on communities, to facilitate development of regional and local adaptation plans to respond to climate variability and change, and any other needed research identified by the Under Secretary or the Advisory Committee.

        (4) OTHER OFFICES- In carrying out the functions of the National Climate Service, the Under Secretary shall utilize the assets and expertise of—

            (A) the National Weather Service to—

                (i) deliver operational weather and climate forecasts, warnings, products, and information through the National Climate Services Division, Local Weather Forecast Offices, Weather Service Offices, and River Forecast Centers; and

                (ii) develop climate forecast models and tools through the National Centers for Environmental Prediction;

            (B) the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service to provide data services and support for product development and operations through the National Climatic Data Center and the Regional Climate Centers;

            (C) the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research to—

                (i) provide research on product development;

                (ii) improve weather and climate forecast models;

                (iii) provide new technologies and methods of observation; and

                (iv) oversee the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supported research performed by the Joint Cooperative Institutes, universities, and other non-Federal entities;

            (D) the National Integrated Drought Information System to—

                (i) provide an effective drought warning system;

                (ii) coordinate and integrate Federal research on droughts;

                (iii) collect and integrate information on key indicators of drought;

                (iv) make usable, reliable, and timely forecasts and assessments of drought, including assessments of the severity of drought conditions and impacts; and

                (v) communicate drought forecasts, conditions, and impacts to Federal, regional, State, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, and the public; and

            (E) any other National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offices or programs, as appropriate.

        (5) SERVICE ELEMENTS- The National Climate Service shall—

            (A) conduct analyses of and studies relating to the effects of weather and climate on communities, including effects on agricultural production, natural resources, energy supply and demand, recreation, and other sectors of the economy;

            (B) carry out observations, data collection, and monitoring of atmospheric and oceanic conditions on a statewide, regional, national, and global basis;

            (C) provide information and technical support for Federal, regional, State, tribal, and local government efforts to assess and respond to climate variability and change;

            (D) develop systems for the management and dissemination of data, information, and assessments, including mechanisms for consultation with current and potential users; and

            (E) conduct research to improve forecasting, characterization, and understanding of weather and climate variability and change and its effects on communities, including its effects on agricultural production, natural resources, energy supply and demand, recreation, and other sectors of the economy.

SEC. 5. CLIMATE SERVICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) In General- The Under Secretary shall establish a Climate Service Advisory Committee to provide advice on—

        (1) climate service product development;

        (2) delivery of services to decisionmakers and other stakeholders;

        (3) infrastructure to support observations and monitoring;

        (4) computation and modeling needs, research needs, and other resources needed to develop, distribute, and ensure the utility of climate data, products, and services; and

        (5) any other topics as may be requested by the Under Secretary or Congress.

    (b) Members-

        (1) IN GENERAL- The Advisory Committee shall be composed of at least 25 members appointed by the Under Secretary. Each member of the Advisory Committee shall be qualified either—

            (A) by education, training, and experience to evaluate scientific and technical information on matters referred to the Advisory Committee under this section; or

            (B) to evaluate the utility and need for climate products by planners, decisionmakers, the private sector, and the public.

        (2) TERMS OF SERVICE- Members shall be appointed for 3-year terms, renewable once, and shall serve at the discretion of the Under Secretary. Vacancy appointments shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacancy, and an individual so appointed may subsequently be appointed for 2 full 3-year terms if the remainder of the unexpired term is less than one year.

        (3) CHAIRPERSON- The Under Secretary shall designate a chairperson from among the members of the Advisory Committee. The designated Chairperson shall alternate between a member who is appointed as a representative and a member who is appointed as a Special Government Employee.

        (4) SUBCOMMITTEES-

            (A) ESTABLISHMENT- The Advisory Committee shall establish—

                (i) a Subcommittee on Science and Technology to advise the National Climate Service on needed research, technology development, and additional observations, and on any other scientific or technical issues as appropriate; and

                (ii) a Subcommittee on Product Development and Delivery composed primarily of representatives of the community of potential users of the products developed and delivered by the National Climate Service.

            The Advisory Committee may establish such additional subcommittees of its members as may be necessary.

            (B) APPOINTMENT-

                (i) FULL ADVISORY COMMITTEE- At least 50 percent of the members of the Advisory Committee shall be appointed as Special Government Employees.

                (ii) SUBCOMMITTEES- At least 75 percent of the members of the Subcommittee on Science and Technology shall be appointed as Special Government Employees. Not more than 25 percent of the members of the Subcommittee on Product Development and Delivery shall be appointed as Special Government Employees.

    (c) Administrative Provisions-

        (1) REPORTING- The Advisory Committee shall report to the Under Secretary and the appropriate requesting party.

        (2) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT- The Under Secretary shall provide administrative support to the Advisory Committee.

        (3) MEETINGS- The Advisory Committee shall meet at least twice each year and at other times at the call of the Under Secretary or the Chairperson.

        (4) COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES- A member of the Advisory Committee shall not be compensated for service on the Advisory Committee, but may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

    (d) Expiration- Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Climate Service Advisory Committee.

SEC. 6. REPEAL.

    The National Climate Program Act (15 U.S.C. 2901 et seq.) is repealed.

SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT OF REGIONAL INTEGRATED SCIENCES AND ASSESSMENTS TEAMS.

    (a) In General- The Under Secretary shall establish Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Teams through a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process. Teams shall conduct applied regional climate research and projects to address the needs of local and regional decisionmakers for information and tools to develop adaptation and response plans to climate variability and change. The awards shall be administered through a cooperative agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the RISA Team. Each award shall be for a period of five years for an amount up to $300,000 per year.

    (b) RISA Teams- Teams shall be composed of multi-institutional partnerships whose individual members may include—

        (1) institutions of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a));

        (2) minority serving institutions, as defined in section 371(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965; and

        (3) nongovernmental organizations, Federal agencies, State and local agencies, tribal organizations, and for-profit entities.

    (c) Considerations- In making awards under this section, the Under Secretary shall consider—

        (1) the overall geographic distribution of RISA Teams and existing gaps in applied research to support local and regional decisionmakers;

        (2) the team’s ability to contribute to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s efforts to deliver climate services in the region; and

        (3) the team’s proposal to integrate social and physical sciences research to address the effects of climate variability and change on the ecological, economic, and social systems in the region.

SEC. 8. SURVEY OF NEED FOR CLIMATE SERVICES.

    (a) In General- The Under Secretary shall provide a report to Congress within 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act that compiles information on the current climate products being delivered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partner organizations to users and stakeholders and on the needs of users and stakeholders for new climate products and services.

    (b) Contents of Report- The report shall identify—

        (1) specific user groups and stakeholders that currently are served by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partner organizations;

        (2) the type of climate products and services currently delivered to specific user groups and stakeholders and the specific National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office or partner organization that delivers these products and services;

        (3) potential user groups and stakeholders that may be served by expanding climate products and services; and

        (4) specific needs for new climate products and services identified by user groups and stakeholders.

    (c) Consultation- The Under Secretary shall consult with the Climate Service Advisory Committee in the preparation of this report.

SEC. 9. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN.

    (a) In General- The Under Secretary shall prepare a plan for creating a National Climate Service in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and delivering climate products and services to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration users and stakeholders. The plan shall be submitted to the President and the Congress within 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

    (b) Draft Plan- Prior to the submission of the final plan, the Under Secretary shall publish a draft plan in the Federal Register with a public comment period of at least 30 days.

    (c) Contents- The plan shall—

        (1) identify the current gaps in climate services and outline the process and resources the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will use to fill these gaps;

        (2) describe the roles of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration line offices and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration partner organizations in the development and delivery of climate products and services;

        (3) describe the development and implementation of quality assurance and control mechanisms for climate products and services delivered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partner organizations;

        (4) identify the mechanisms and opportunities for determining user needs and engaging in a two-way dialogue with users that will inform climate product and service development and delivery of authoritative, timely, and useful information on climate variability and change and the effects on local, State, regional, national, and global scales;

        (5) identify new responsibilities or tasks to be undertaken by existing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration line offices and partner organizations; and

        (6) identify new infrastructure, equipment, personnel, or other resources needed to implement the proposed plan.

    (d) Continuity of Service- During the development of the implementation plan, the public comment period, and final plan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall continue to provide climate services to the user community.

    (e) Consultation- In developing the plan, the Under Secretary shall consult with user groups and stakeholders, other Federal agencies, the Climate Service Advisory Committee, and Congress.

 

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