ESA Policy News: November 7, 2022

In this issue:

Apply for the 2023 Katherine S. McArthur Graduate Student Policy Award
Applications are due January 1, 2023.

ESA at COP 27
ESA has received official observer status at COP 27 in Egypt taking place Nov. 6-18.

White House Seeks Comments About the Scope of the National Nature Assessment
The Office of Science and Technology Policy solicits feedback about public engagement, organization, scenarios to include in the assessment and more.

Executive Branch
The US Fish and Wildlife Service lists the Emperor Penguin as a threatened species, citing climate change as the primary threat to the species.

State Attorneys General’ races could impact climate and energy policy.

United Nations Environment Programme report determines that the world is not on track to meet Paris Climate Agreement goals.

Scientific Community
Research!America to post-election debrief Nov. 15.

Federal Register opportunities


Apply for the 2023 Katherine S. McArthur Graduate Student Policy Award

Are you a science graduate student interested in the intersection between policy and science? ESA invites you to apply for the 2023 Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). Apply and come to DC to meet with your lawmaker on Capitol Hill!

Offered each year, this award gives graduate students hands-on training and science policy experience including interacting with congressional decision-makers, federal agency officials, and ecologists who work in the science and public policy arena. ESA covers all travel expenses and plans to hold the event onsite at its Washington, DC office Tuesday, April 24-25 unless events beyond our control occur. Applications are due Jan. 1, 2023, 12PM EDT.

For more information and to apply, visit the ESA website.


ESA at COP 27

Diplomats and representatives of civil society are convening in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt for the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27) this week and next week. Discussions of climate ‘loss and damage’ are expected to dominate the conference. ‘Loss and damage’ refers to if and how less developed countries will receive payments for damages from climate change. Countries like Bangladesh emit relatively low amounts of carbon emissions but are also the most vulnerable to climate change. Countries will also continue work on emissions reduction commitments and climate finance, or funding for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.


ESA has received official observer status at COP27. ESA members have received badges and will be attending the meeting. We will be posting updates from members at COP27 and resources on the Ecotone blog.

White House Seeks Comments About the Scope of the National Nature Assessment

In April 2022, the Biden administration announced the launch of the first-ever U.S. National Nature Assessment. Led by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, this report will assess the state of the U.S.’s lands, waters and wildlife and the specific benefits that they provide. The assessment will also allow the country to look ahead at how nature might change in the future and identify opportunities for investments in nature to help achieve climate, health, environmental justice and economic goals.


The Office of Science and Technology Policy is now soliciting feedback from the scientific community and the public about the scope of the assessment. The request for information includes a series of questions:


  • What forms of engagement should the U.S. Global Change Research Program use to best inform the assessment?
  • How far back in time should the National Nature Assessment (NNA) explore observed trends and why?
  • What kinds of questions about the future should the NNA aim to answer? How far into the future should projections extend, and why?
  • What types of future scenarios would best support the recommended uses (e.g. quantitative time series, directional changes, stories)?
  • How should the information in the NNA be organized?


To view the full list of questions and submit a comment, see the Federal Register Notice. Comments are due by March 31, 2023.


ESA is posting updates about the National Nature Assessment on the EcoTone blog.


Executive Branch

White House: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will meet Nov. 9, 2022. The meeting will cover two topics – cyber resilience and the economic impacts of extreme weather. Additional information and the meeting agenda will be posted on the PCAST website.


White House: President Biden will host a tribal nations summit with the Department of the Interior Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. This summit will build on the work of the 2021 tribal nations summit, as well as other on-going work to strengthen nation-to-nation relations. Last year, the Biden administration revived the White House Tribal Relations Summit, which was started by the Obama administration. This will be the first in-person summit of the Biden administration. Last year’s summit was held virtually.


White House: The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is holding a virtual community forum on Nov. 7 to discuss its recently released memorandum calling for immediate free access to federally funded research. During the forum, OSTP and other federal agency officials will discuss principles motivating the memorandum, detail the provisions of the memorandum, review the timeline for agency implementation, hear perspectives from federal agencies, and address questions from the community. Questions will be taken in advance.


USFWS: The agency granted threatened species protections for the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) under the Endangered Species Act. The Emperor Penguin is native to Antarctica and is the world’s tallest and heaviest penguin species. In the final rule, the US Fish and Wildlife Service determines that climate change is the biggest threat to the species’ continued survival.


More News:



Climate: Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27), the United Nations Environment Programme released a report finding that the world is falling short of the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The world is unlikely to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To reach this goal, the world would have to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030. Current climate pledges from countries would lead to 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by the year 2100.


More News:


Scientific Community

Elections: The AAAS Office of Government Relations is pleased to announce a special edition CASE (Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering) Post-Election Virtual Workshop Nov. 14, which will be free and open to all (no application required). This mini-CASE webinar will focus on the state of the game coming out of the midterms and how advocacy can extend your impact on the science policy sphere beyond your vote. Register here.

Elections: Research! America will hold a post-election panel Nov. 15 to discuss the midterm election results and the potential impacts of the election on science, research and public health. The event will take place in person at the American Association for the Advancement of Science building in Washington, DC and will be live-streamed. To register for the livestream or the in-person election, visit the event website.

Awards: The Golden Goose Awards is now accepting nominations through Dec. 16, 2022. This award honors federally funded researchers whose work may sound silly, odd, obscure, wasteful of taxpayer funding, or serendipitous, but has had a major positive impact on society. Submit a nomination and read about past Golden Goose awardees on the award website.

NSF: The National Science Foundation announced changes to the names of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources and the Division of Human Resource Development. To more accurately reflect and communicate the values and totality of the agency’s work with STEM education including supporting the missing millions — Americans from every background, in each state, who have the potential to participate in STEM — the directorate will now be known as the Directorate for STEM Education, or EDU, and the division will be known as the Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM, or EES. Visit this link to read the entire announcement.

NSF: The Division of Environmental Biology will hold its next Virtual Office Hour, ‘Opportunities for Research in Climate Change’ Nov. 14. Representatives from each of the four clusters will be available to discuss specific programs and funding opportunities during an open question and answer period. Virtual Office Hours are held on the second Monday of every month; find recaps of previous months’ discussions here.

Duke University: The National Ecosystem Service Partnership and the Resilience Project, both based at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute, are organizing a webinar series about current issues in nature-based solutions. The series will allow participants to explore current nature-based solutions issues, discover promising practices, and hear from experts working in this field. The first webinar, to be held on Nov. 15, will focus on assessing the costs and benefits of nature-based solutions, how to account for the benefits of nature-based solutions, how to compare the costs and benefits of nature-based solutions to more traditional (gray infrastructure) solutions and the return on investment for nature-based solutions. Register here.

Wildfire: The Northwest Fire Science Consortium and the Oregon State University Extension Fire Program is hosting a webinar series about equity and environmental justice in wildfire. View information about the upcoming and recorded webinars here.

Register to Vote and Request an Absentee Ballot

The midterm elections are happening this November. On a national level, all seats in the House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate will be contested. Several state governorships and many other state and local elections will also be contested. Be sure you are registered to vote in time to participate! Learn more about voting policies and rights in your state and register to vote at Rock the Vote, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging young people in politics.

Voting procedures and requirements for requesting an absentee ballot during the coronavirus pandemic vary by state. Visit your state board of elections website or for deadlines and to request a ballot.

ESA Correspondence to Policymakers

View more letters and testimony from ESA here.

Federal Register Opportunities

Upcoming Public Meetings:

Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:

Visit this page on ESA’s website for updates on opportunities from the Federal Register, including upcoming meetings and regulations open for public comment.

ESA’s policy activities work to infuse ecological knowledge into national policy decisions through activities such as policy statements, Capitol Hill briefings, Congressional Visits Days, and coalition involvement. Policy News Updates are bi-monthly summaries of major environmental and science policy news. They are produced by the Public Affairs Office of the Ecological Society of America.

Send questions or comments to Alison Mize, director of public affairs, or Nicole Zimmerman, public affairs manager,

Visit the ESA website to learn more about our activities and membership.