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News Releases 2002
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Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham have submitted a progress update on federal climate change science and technology programs in a letter to President Bush. The update, from the cabinet level Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration, jointly chaired by Evans and Abraham, outlines steps taken in four key areas: federal climate research, technology development, voluntary emissions reduction, and collaborative international activities. The letter can be found at http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/climateletter.pdf.
The update details activities taken in response to President Bush’s initiatives to address global climate change. These initiatives include the Climate Change Research Initiative to accelerate science-based climate change policy development, and the National Climate Change Technology Initiative to advance energy and sequestration technology development. The update also addresses the President’s call to increase international cooperation to engage and support other nations on climate change and clean technologies and his plan for increased incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“President Bush directed us to advance the science of climate change study so policy makers can make critical decisions on how to address this looming global issue,” said Evans. “This letter provides an important update on the progress made in meeting the president’s climate change goals and objectives.”
Work by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other government agencies are leading to the rapid development of improved climate research, monitoring and decision tools that will provide useful information on climate change issues in a timely way. Continued investments in ocean and atmospheric observation systems and efforts to gain international cooperation in expanding these systems are playing a significant role in enabling scientists to better characterize and understand complex global climate systems and processes.
“We’re engaged in a landmark scientific endeavor to create new technologies and forge new programs and processes that will reduce greenhouse gases and mitigate the risks associated with climate change,” said Abraham. “With the help of partners in the public and private sectors, we are making progress in developing clean technologies and gaining critical knowledge on sequestration processes.”
The current state of U.S. climate change technology research and development is also being cataloged with the intent to foster public/private partnerships, strengthen basic research, and promote cutting-edge technologies. Of significant interest are; hydrogen based energy systems, biofuels, low-speed wind turbines, fuel cells, zero net energy building, carbon dioxide capture and geologic sequestration, and agricultural land management.
One example highlights the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel for transportation. Almost one-third of all U.S. carbon emissions are due to transportation, of which half is from light passenger vehicles. These emissions can be reduced or eliminated if these vehicles utilize hydrogen as fuel. Accordingly a major effort is underway to develop hydrogen production and related delivery infrastructure. Attempts will be made to accelerate research and development of hydrogen fuel cell technology such as the Department of Energy FreedomCAR research partnership, which will focus on developing fuel cell and hydrogen technology from domestic renewable resources.
United States participation in a voluntary emissions reduction program has highlighted the need for accurate, reliable and verifiable reporting of greenhouse gases. To meet this objective, recommendations for improvements to the Energy Department’s Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases program have been made. Improvements include stakeholder workshops, updating technical guidelines with public comment periods on those guidelines, enhanced software and a public-use database. Further, the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are working with energy intensive companies and industries to identify cost effective greenhouse gas reductions.
Active U.S. support and participation in collaborative international activities directed at climate change will remain a key focus of the Committee of Climate Change Science and Technology Integration. “With the U.S. continuing to lead all nations in research and development of climate-change technology, we will maintain our support of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” said Secretary Evans.
The update also notes numerous interagency bilateral climate dialogues in progress including joint climate change programs, scientific research and technical discussions in Australia, Canada, Central America, the European Union, India, Italy, Japan and the People’s Republic of China.
To determine the full scope of research conducted by the federal government, an interagency inventory of climate and global change research programs will be completed later this month. Further, an updated strategic plan for U.S. global climate change research is being developed with a draft report available for public comment in November 2002. The plan will be subject to a comprehensive review during a three-day workshop on U.S. Climate Change Science in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3-5, 2002. A final strategic plan is expected to be published in April 2003. For more information on the climate science workshop please visit http://www.climatescience.gov.
The Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration was established by President Bush in 2001 to coordinate federal interagency programs in climate change science and technology development. The secretaries of the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Energy jointly lead the committee with regular participation by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council of Environmental Quality. For more information on the committee please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010611-2.html.
The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
To learn more about NOAA, please visit http://www.noaa.gov.