Looking Ahead to ‘A Clear Chance to Shape Our Future’

 

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, will lead a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, August 31-Septmeber 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change. 

“Climate change is real. It is happening now, in our backyards and around the globe,” said Lubchenco. “Decision-makers across all sectors require reliable, relevant information about the current and projected impacts of climate change, whether they are farmers, manufacturers, or city officials planning snow removal budgets or options for water resources, transportation or new housing developments. In a rapidly changing world these decisions cannot be made based on weather of the past; decision-makers need to know what to expect in the next twenty to fifty years to plan effectively.”

 Next week’s conference will bring together those who collect and develop climate information with those who need it, setting in motion an unprecedented opportunity to design a system that will inform decision-making in a way that is similar to how weather services work today, but on a longer time-scale. Climate services would include the broad range of what users require to address their needs, including data collection, technical assessment, analysis and prediction, and the ability to interpret and use the information.        

The U.S. delegation will include representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. National Science Foundation, USAID, the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA and NASA.  U.S. officials will be actively engaged at the conference, learning from the international community and sharing American knowledge and innovations.

The first two World Climate Conferences, in 1979 and 1990, greatly enhanced capabilities to observe and assess climate change, ultimately leading to the establishment of the World Climate Research Program and the Global Climate Observing System, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Rarely are we presented with such a clear chance to shape our future, to start taking actions essential to making our planet healthier, safer and more environmentally and economically viable. We look forward to working with the international community to make this a very successful conference,” said Lubchenco.