Real world impact: Prof. Maria Carmen Lemos joins scientists and local government experts launching new science-based resources to accelerate climate action

Originally published: 
April, 2019

Report Kicks Off Launch of Science for Climate Action Network, Delivering Climate Guidance to Local Governments on Issues

Local governments have a new science-based resource to tackle climate challenges with the release of the report, ‘Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action’ and launch of the Science for Climate Action Network (SCAN). The report, published in Weather, Climate and Society and summarized in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, was authored by nearly forty science and local government experts, including Maria Carmen Lemos, Associate Dean for Research at University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability and Co-Director of The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences & Assessments Program (GLISA). The intent is to help local governments use science in the U.S. National Climate Assessments and other sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adjust to now-unavoidable climate impacts.

With climate change intensifying, communities are working on solutions, but as the report highlights, new types of support are needed, including science that is more accessible, trusted, and relevant to local challenges. The report recommends a new framework that applies climate reports like the U.S. National Climate Assessment in a sustained, user-oriented process instead of a one-off release.

"Now is the time to scale up and accelerate efforts by providing real-world guidance and tools that empower all communities to act," said Lemos. The science—including last October’s IPCC report—shows unequivocally that what we do in the short-term will affect generations to come—we don't have a moment to waste. We need to make the science relevant to those who can leverage it to make a difference. It's not just about valuing the knowledge that scientific research produces, but also about leveraging it to benefit society.

We've seen this model work in the high-impact regional collaborations between the University of Michigan and NOAA, like GLISA and Michigan Sea Grant. With SCAN, we are applying what we’ve learned to a national scale, empowering participants across the country to create a better future—not just for their own communities, but for all."

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