A two-day summit on climate change that is bringing together top scientists, members of Congress, Obama administration officials, business leaders, state government officials, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations kicked off today at the National Academy of Sciences. The summit — which launches AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES, an NAS project that will generate a series of congressionally requested reports — will lay the groundwork for how the nation can limit the magnitude of climate change, adapt to its impacts, and provide paths to action. A live webcast of the event can be viewed at http://national-academies.org. (Audience registration is at capacity, but reporters may still register to attend in person by contacting the news office representatives listed above).
"Given that climate change is intertwined with other strategic priorities, such as energy and national security, we have invited speakers with a broad array of expertise and perspectives to start an open dialogue as the country charts a course to respond to climate change," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "We are pleased that Congress recognized the need for independent, expert advice to inform and guide policymaking related to climate change, and that so many of the nation’s top experts have volunteered to serve on the America’s Climate Choices studies."
In one of her first public appearances since being appointed, JANE LUBCHENCO, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will speak today at the summit. REP. ALAN MOLLOHAN (D-W.Va.), member of the House Committee on Appropriations, and REP. BART GORDON (D-Tenn.), chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology, will provide insight on information Congress needs to know about climate change. JAMES J. MULVA, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips will also speak.
In addition, members of the committee on AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES will give presentations today, including committee chair ALBERT CARNESALE, chancellor emeritus and professor at University of California, Los Angeles; WILLIAM CHAMEIDES, vice chair of AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES and dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University; CHARLES HOLLIDAY JR., chairman of the board for DuPont; and SUSAN SOLOMON, senior scientist at NOAA and former co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I.
Tomorrow, JAMES WOOLSEY, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and venture partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners, will discuss the threats climate change poses to national security, and MARY NICHOLS, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, will address climate policy from the state perspective. Other speakers come from a range of backgrounds including academia, industry and international trade organizations, environmental groups, and different levels of government.
The summit provides an opportunity to collect feedback and frame the questions and issues that the AMERICA’S CLIMATE CHOICES study will address. Four study panels will issue reports on specific topics related to climate change, and the project will culminate with an overarching report that identifies short-term actions and the most promising long-term strategies to respond to climate change. In total, 90 experts have volunteered to serve.
Some of the topics the panel reports and final report will cover include what can be done to limit the magnitude of climate change, adapt to its impacts, and advance the science. All of the groups are also charged with identifying and targeting the most important stakeholders and decision makers in order to help them plan and execute effective responses.
Summit organizers also want to hear from the public. People can suggest questions they would like the reports to address or propose literature or opinion pieces they would like considered during the study process. Feedback and comments may be submitted through April 17 at http://www.americasclimatechoices.org/input.shtml.
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are independent, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under an 1863 congressional charter. Committee members, who serve pro bono as volunteers, are chosen by the Academies for each study based on their expertise and experience and must satisfy the Academies’ conflict-of-interest standards. The resulting consensus reports undergo external peer review before completion. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org/studycommitteprocess.pdf.
More information on the summit and reports can be found at http://www.americasclimatechoices.org. An archived webcast of the summit will be available.