NOAA Administrator welcomes new climate science report

May 18, 2011

On May 17, 2011, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco issued the following statement about the National Research Council’s release of its fifth and final report as part of the America’s Climate Choices series:  

In 2008, the U.S. Congress called for NOAA to execute an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to establish a committee that would “investigate and study the serious and sweeping issues relating to global climate change and make recommendations regarding what steps must be taken and what strategies must be adopted in response to global climate change, including the science and technology challenges thereof."

As the funding agency and a contributor of scientific expertise for this study, NOAA commends the members of the Committee on America’s Climate Choices for their diligent work over the last three years and their valuable contributions to this monumental effort.

This final report, from the nation’s most esteemed scientific body, is another independent, peer reviewed scientific report that adds to the growing body of scientific information telling us that climate change is occurring and poses significant risks to America's economy, communities and natural resources.

This report not only re-affirms the broad international scientific consensus about the causes and consequences of climate change, but makes clear that comprehensive, sustained efforts must begin today to deal with those consequences. As the report states, the question is no longer if the climate is changing, but rather what are the options for dealing with it. Specifically, what are the tools and information that communities need to 1) understand the risks, 2) prepare for and deal with impact already occurring and 3) understand what actions they can take to limit future emissions and the magnitude of future impacts.

A key message from this report is that the sooner we act, the more economically and socially resilient our communities will be and the more flexibility they will have to address and adapt to climate change impacts. The actions needed to reduce emissions and adapt a changing climate also present  significant opportunities for technological innovation and job creation. The report advocates a new, iterative decision-making framework in which actions can be revised as new knowledge about climate change emerges.

NOAA will continue to build its capacity to advance climate science and deliver climate information and services. Our goal is to provide the most reliable and relevant climate information to communities, businesses and governments – information that will also speed development of the emerging private sector climate services industry. This is an important step in helping Americans understand and make informed decisions with consequences for all of society from national security and infrastructure, to farming, energy and transportation, and disaster preparedness.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.