Includes Recommendations to Help Federal, State and Local Governments, Communities and Private Sector Plan for Changing Climate - See Report Here
Independent Climate Group Disbanded by Federal Government Reconvened by the Governor in 2018 State of the State Address
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment is releasing a report after being disbanded by the federal government in 2017, and reconvened by the Governor in 2018. The report includes recommendations to help federal, state, and local governments, communities, and the private sector plan for the effects of climate change.
"While the federal government continues to deny climate change and ignore the dire need to strengthen the resilience of our communities, New York and the U.S. Climate Alliance are taking action," Governor Cuomo said. "Last year we proudly reconvened the advisory committee to put a spotlight on this global catastrophe, and this report will provide important recommendations to communities across the country as we work to address climate change."
"We are committed to making investments as part of our aggressive clean energy goals to help combat climate change," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "While the federal government fails to address the issue of climate change, New York is taking steps to ensure our communities are prepared and taking action to adapt to the changing climate. New York will continue to lead the nation in our fight for a cleaner and greener environment for future generations."
Formerly known as the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, the Independent Advisory Committee includes scientists and experts tasked with providing recommendations to help governments, communities, and the private sector improve data and analytical methods used in planning for the effects of climate change. In 2018, Governor Cuomo reconvened the committee in coordination with the U.S. Climate Alliance so that its critical work could continue without political interference and provide the guidance needed to adapt to a changing climate.
Over the past year, the reconstituted group, comprised of 19 independent scientific and policy experts and headed by Dr. Richard Moss of the American Meteorological Society, developed a report and recommendations to help decision-makers better understand the effects of climate change on their communities, and to better evaluate information and plans as they prepare for those effects.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "While the federal government continues to willfully ignore science, New York is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase sources of carbon-free energy. The Independent Advisory Committee is continuing its vital work advising our country to respond to climate challenges by bolstering the resilience of our communities. New York's efforts to reduce emissions and speed our transition to renewable energy will benefit our state with cleaner air, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and provide new jobs for New Yorkers."
Alicia Barton, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, "Effective government climate change policies cannot be developed without access to real facts and information based on available data and tools. By reconvening this scientific advisory committee, Governor Cuomo is ensuring government authorities, policymakers and the public have the resources needed to implement responsible policies and combat climate change with the best available scientific data and information."
"The IAC report would likely not have been completed if Governor Cuomo hadn't stepped forward," said Richard Moss, Chair of the IAC and lead author of the report. "We thank him for his leadership and enabling us to develop this new framework and network for using science to address climate threats to local economic growth, infrastructure, and public health."
The report, "A Civil Society Consortium for Conducting Applied Climate Assessments: Collaborations and Knowledge for Confronting Climate Risk," notes that in 2017 alone, severe climate-related events cost the United States roughly $306.2 billion in damages, shattering the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion in 2005 - the year of Hurricane Katrina. The report also notes that significant efforts are underway in New York and elsewhere, but that worldwide, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not taking place rapidly enough to stabilize atmospheric concentrations at safe levels.
The report's recommendations include establishing a formal independent consortium to serve as a clearinghouse and resource to support activities of state and local policy-makers and others to prepare for a changing climate. The consortium would foster the production of scientific information needed for climate change planning, develop tools and practices to meet shared challenges facing communities, set priorities for collective action, and facilitate the sharing of authoritative data and information. In addition, the report recommends this new consortium expand the scope of the current federal National Climate Assessment to include evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of information and tools being applied to inform climate change adaptation and mitigation. This new applied assessment would identify tested climate science practices, develop definitive data and methods, and provide feedback to the research community on knowledge gaps.
The Advisory Committee also identifies six opportunities that address specific needs and/or take advantage of promising methods and technologies. These opportunities include evaluating climate information for application; appraising adaptation and mitigation options; advancing climate indicator systems; harnessing artificial intelligence; applying citizen and community science; and using geospatial analysis methods to assess intersecting climate, environmental, and socioeconomic trends.
Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is taking bold action to meet the challenge of climate change. On June 1, 2017, when the federal government announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, New York joined with California and Washington State to form the U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the goals of the agreement. The U.S. Climate Alliance has grown to include 22 states and Puerto Rico, representing more than half the nation's population and gross domestic product.
To learn more about the Independent Advisory Committee's work, visit climateassessment.org.