NOAA adminstrator Lubchenco on Living on Earth

Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of NOAA (who, by the by, is a former president of ESA), gave a great interview on this week’s Living on Earth series.  If you don’t listen to Living on Earth, it’s an excellent weekly radio show by Public Radio International that focuses on environmental issues.

Lubchenco told the Living on Earth folks that she wants to start a National Climate Service, which would be akin to the National Weather Service and would predict the effects of climate change on different sections of the U.S. in the coming decades.   She gave the example of changing water availability as one important use of such a service:

“…Fundamental changes in the availability of water are so basic to planning, not just for city managers, but for agriculture, for traffic on rivers, how to think about droughts, floods, fire, insect outbreaks… The ability to have an idea of what’s down the road, even though it’s not super precise, is immensely useful in planning. So there are lots and lots of requests now – by water managers, by city planners, and others – for information, and there’s no one place they can go.”

She said that she would like NOAA to be able to get climate information and predictions to managers at at the regional scale for a “twenty to fifty year time horizon.”  She also commented that she thinks the goals the Obama administration has put forth for curbing climate change – such as an 80 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 – is an appropriate and achievable goal. Finally, she pointed to the urgency of addressing climate change, again quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘too late’.”

Listen to a podcast of the interview here.

Image courtesy of NOAA.

Author: Christine Buckley

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