Climate Advisory Panel Evicted By Trump Returns As A Public/Private Partnership

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Barack Obama established the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, a panel of 15 experts created to advise the federal government on matters pertaining to the challenges climate change will create for the nation. In August of 2017, the Tramp maladministration rounded up all the members of the committee, confiscated their White House passes, and threw them out, telling them never to return.

climate change hurricane

The crime the committee committed that lead to their removal was simply this — not enough members of industry who could lobby from inside the government for more oil and gas exploration, a lowering of regulations on carbon emissions, and tax policies that would favor corporations. In other words, the US government was no longer interested in addressing the existential crisis facing the nation if it meant denying oligarchs one centime of profit.

The Science To Climate Action Network

Unbowed by their hostile treatment at the hands of the alleged president and his minions, the group has now reorganized itself as the Science To Climate Action Network and relocated to the state of New York at the express invitation of governor Andrew Cuomo. It is composed of 20 climate experts and is financially supported by Columbia University and the American Meteorological Society according to The Guardian.

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The group’s first report was published April 4 by the journal AMS100, which is an adjunct of the auspices of the American Meteorological Society. Entitled “Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action: A Framework for Sustained Assessment,” its lead author is R.H. Moss, a visiting scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia.

First Principles

In the abstract, the authors write:

“As states, cities, tribes, and private interests cope with climate damages and seek to increase preparedness and resilience, they will need to navigate myriad choices and options available to them. Making these choices in ways that identify pathways for climate action that support their development objectives will require constructive public dialogue, community participation, and flexible and ongoing access to science- and experience-based knowledge.

“In 2016, a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) was convened to recommend how to conduct a sustained National Climate Assessment (NCA) to increase the relevance and usability of assessments for informing action. The FAC was disbanded in 2017, but members and additional experts reconvened to complete the present report.

“A key recommendation is establishing a new non-federal ‘climate assessment consortium’ to increase the role of state/local/tribal government and civil society in assessments. The expanded process would:

(1) focus on applied problems faced by practitioners;

(2) organize sustained partnerships for collaborative learning across similar projects and case studies to identify effective tested practices; and

(3) assess and improve knowledge-based methods for project implementation.

“Specific recommendations include: evaluating climate models and data using user-defined metrics; improving benefit-cost assessment and supporting decision-making under uncertainty, and accelerating application of tools and methods such as citizen science, artificial intelligence, indicators, and geospatial analysis.

“The recommendations are the result of broad consultation and present an ambitious agenda for federal agencies, state/local/tribal jurisdictions, universities and the research sector, professional associations, non-governmental and community-based organizations, and private-sector firms.”

Missed Opportunities

The entire report, which is quite extensive, can be accessed in PDF format at this link. Moss, who previously chaired the advisory panel created by Obama, tells The Guardian, “We were concerned that the federal government is missing an opportunity to get better information into the hands of those who prepare for what we have already unleashed. We’re only just starting to see the effects of climate change, it’s only going to get much worse. But we haven’t yet rearranged our daily affairs to adapt to science we have.”

The report recommends the creation of a “civil-society-based climate assessment consortium” that combines private and public interests to provide more localized help for communities menaced by floods, wildfires or other perils. “Imagine working in state or county government. You have a road that is flooding frequently and you get three design options all with different engineering. You don’t have the capacity to know what is the best option to avoid flooding, you just know what costs more,” Moss says.

“Climate issues aren’t being raised in communities. They may know they are vulnerable but they don’t know whether to use, for example, wetlands or a flood wall to stop flooding. We need to establish best practices and guide people on how to apply that locally. This is extremely urgent. Every year that goes by means more people losing everything from flooding and fire, including the lives of loved ones. This needs to be addressed as rapidly as possible.”

Yes, it certainly does, but Tramp and his gang of thieves don’t care a flying fig leaf about people. They only care about winning in the unending quest for more and more wealth. How do people continue voting for people who have no interest in addressing the issues that confront society? That is a question for which there is no available answer.

A Note On Messaging

While the Science To Climate Action Network should be applauded for its new initiative, the group seems not to have considered the political ramifications that flow from the name they have chosen. Like most progressives, they are ignorant of how important framing the issues they care about can be.

The name they have chosen turns into the acronym — SCAN. It will take about one heartbeat for the opposition to turn that into SCAM, causing Fox News reactionaries to stop reading immediately. What’s in a name? In this era of ultra-partisan politics, everything. SCAN really needs someone like George Lakoff to help them frame their campaign in a way that will resonate with more people. Reactionaries do so all the time. It’s long past time for progressives to do the same.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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