Students in Alaska take a field trip to a local salmon stream. An artificial reef is built off the coast of Florida. A duck hunter cleans his gear in Wisconsin. A lifeguard in Delaware explains rip currents to a family on their beach vacation. Even though these differing coastal activities take place over the entire continental U.S., they all have the National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), in common. Sea Grant is comprised of a network of 33 programs along the nation’s coasts that support “research, education, outreach, and extension activities that provide communities with the tools to increase their resiliency capacities.” Sea Grant and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a briefing on the necessity of economic resiliency in coastal communities in the U.S. and featured three speakers who attested to the importance of resiliency and of Sea Grant’s support.
When you hear the words ‘climate change,’ images of the proverbial greenhouse, global thermometer, or clouds of air pollution may come to mind, but they may not be accompanied by thoughts of various federal agencies. However, the actions of the federal government can have widespread effects on a host of environmental issues. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 was signed into law to hold federal agencies accountable for those effects by requiring them to assess the environmental impacts their actions may have before they are carried out and to consider alternative options.
“Merit review is the lifeblood of NSF. It is how we identify the best science to fund. It is the core of promoting the progress of science and the reason taxpayers give the NSF and the research community so much independence,” said John Anderson, Chair of the National Science Board’s Committee on Audit and Oversight.
Launching New Public-Private Partnership And Announcing Joint Declaration On Leveraging Open Data For Climate Resilience
Even as the United States and the international community act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, citizens and communities need to prepare for the current and future impacts of a changing climate and work with partners around the world to do the same. That is why, over the last seven and a half years, the Obama Administration has worked to advance the development and provision of data, information, tools, and technical assistance to support climate preparedness and resilience efforts both domestically and internationally.
In 2015, the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general and nine non-profit organizations subpoenaed ExxonMobil for their documents and data about climate change. They were acting on evidence from a report by the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) showing that ExxonMobil scientists studied and knew about the negative effects of greenhouse gases since the 1970s. Despite this knowledge, the report showed that the public was provided with disinformation to protect the financial interests of the large oil and gas company.
Starving polar bears and bleached coral reefs are often the face of climate change today, but what many people do not realize is that climate change also threatens national security. Members of the U.S. national security community have been studying the impacts of climate change, namely sea level rise, and the associated threats to our military installations and missions. The results of their studies were compiled into three reports that were discussed at this week’s first annual Climate and National Security Forum. The forum consisted of three panels with several authors from each report serving on the respective panels.
On September 14, Representatives Jared Polis (CO-02) and David Jolly (Fl-13) launched the U.S. House of Representatives Earth and Space Science Caucus. A reception celebrating the caucus’ formation was held in conjunction with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and was sponsored by the Earth and Space Science Caucus Alliance.
We could not live without the simple chemical compound H2O. Known as water in layman’s terms, it is a vital part of our bodies, our food, our lives, and our planet. But there are serious, catastrophic problems when water inundates communities as a flood event or disappears during drought conditions. These issues, in addition to increasing resource demand, create challenges for water managers. Water resource experts met this week at a University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) congressional briefing, sponsored by Senator Richard Shelby (AL-7), to discuss the collaboration between government agencies, industry, and academia on the management and development of our nation’s vital water resources. This collaboration is no small feat – Mr. Edward Clark (Director, Geo-Intelligence Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)) told the audience there are 26 different federal agencies that work on water prediction, science, and data services.
When the 1,000-year-flood event hit south Louisiana last month, an estimated 60,000 structures were damaged, including those both inside and outside of the flood zone. In a hearing last week, Representative John Mica (FL-07) noted that 80 percent of homeowners did not have flood insurance because, based on maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), they were not in areas that were considered vulnerable to flooding. These floodmaps are in urgent need of updating and were the focus of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing to review the recommendations of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council’s (TMAC) 2015 Annual Report for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Strolling down a beach with sand dunes on one side and the ocean on the other or navigating your motorboat through a harbor probably don’t make you think of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). However, USACE’s many duties include designing and carrying out projects for ecosystem restoration, flood control, and coastal navigation, making it the biggest water resources development and management agency in the federal government.