KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Climate Experts Want Science Embedded In Local Decisions

A group of scientists, climate experts, and government officials from around the country want to make what we know about climate change more integrated with run-of-the-mill choices about infrastructure and zoning. It would be a sort of climate service, akin to the National Weather Service.

Kathy Jacobs led the third National Climate Assessment and is now at the University of Arizona.

“The way the National Climate Assessment reads now, it mostly describes climate impacts and, to some degree, adaptation efforts. That’s really just a state of progress in adaptation,” she said. “That is not the same thing as helping people, for example, design culverts that are going to be able to handle increased flooding, or manage sea level rise.”

Called the Science for Climate Action Network, it is the result of a 10-year effort both inside and outside the federal government and borne out of a Federal Advisory Committee that was looking at how to install an ongoing climate assessment program. The Trump Administration ended the committee’s work in 2017.

Reconstituted as a civil-society organization, SCAN is currently looking for funding.

Jacobs said SCAN eventually wants to evaluate climate responses as part of its ongoing work, as well as provide new information via citizen science or remote sensing data.

“Other kinds of ways of collecting information that can be more useful in real time than these reports that are published every four years.”

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.