Sunday, September 2, 2012

NOAA's PPI goals&objectives fall short of the ACC policy&outreach recommendations

Yesterday's post shows the NRC  America's Climate Choices assessment(s)' recommendation for climate outreach and climate mitigation policy.  (In short: we can't solve it without aligning private incentives with public policy goals, via putting a price on carbon; and the public needs education outreach to be informed about  climate change and the relative effectiveness of policies to address it.)

How do NOAA's goals&objectives align with these recommendations?  According to  NOAA's Office of Program Planning and Integration website, not as well as it could.
Long-term goal: Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
* An informed society anticipating and responding to climate and its impacts
* NOAA will advance this long-term goal of climate adaptation and mitigation as it builds upon a strong scientific foundation and decades of engagement with interagency, academic, and private sector partners to strengthen scientific understanding of climate; monitor changes in the atmosphere, oceans, and land; produce climate assessments; develop and deliver climate services at global and regional scales; and increase public knowledge of climate change and its impacts.

Objective: A climate-literate public that understands its vulnerabilities to a changing climate and makes informed decisions
The success or failure of climate adaptation and mitigation in the United States and around the world will depend on the ability of leaders, organizations, institutions, and the public to understand the challenges and opportunities climate change presents. The routine incorporation of climate information into decisions requires an awareness of how a changing climate may affect individuals, families, businesses, and communities. A society educated about climate change and actively engaged in dialogue about its causes and effects will better address today’s problems and plan for tomorrow. ...  [There's more, though it too neglects climate mitigation policy outreach; see bottom of post.]


"Anticipating and responding" gives short shrift to "preventing".

I'd replace "actively engaged in dialogue about" with "understanding", but that's a quibble.

But most importantly, if climate mitigation policy options & effectiveness, and outreach about them, are required to tackle the climate problem  and  recommended by the ACC assessment, why isn't at least "policies to solve the problem" outreach among NOAA's objectives?
Additional NOAA "objective" text is reprinted below.  Your tasks:
1) identify where it addresses informing the public about how to tackle climate change;
2) consider what happens when public outreach covers all aspects of climate change except how to tackle it, and how this (mis)aligns with the ACC recommendations.
To achieve this objective, NOAA will work with diverse internal and external partners in academia and elsewhere to increase understanding of the likely impacts of climate variability and change through investments in climate awareness efforts, capacity building, education, and outreach. NOAA will engage stakeholders at multiple levels, foster community dialogue, and educate citizens and students both formally and informally. Engagement efforts will be highly adapted to meet the needs of various segments of society. NOAA will work to ensure continuous and sustained dialogue among partners in order to understand capabilities and identify climate-related risks that are of the most urgent concern to decision makers and the public. This engagement will help NOAA understand how user needs for climate services are changing, how users perceive climate risks and uncertainty, and consequently, how to design future climate products and services. In addition to data and products, the NCS Portal will offer a broad array of climate communications and educational materials that stem from NOAA’s climate research, observations, modeling, and services.

    Over the next five years, evidence of progress toward this objective will include:

    - Key segments of society understand climate risks and use that knowledge to increase resilience to likely climate impacts;

    - Consumers of climate information understand the strengths and limitations of climate information and utilize this knowledge in their decision making processes;

    - Educators and other outreach professionals increase comprehension and use of climate science concepts and education resources; and

    - NOAA is better able to identify and monitor stakeholder needs and refine its information products to enhance their value and meet evolving needs. 

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