Environment Protection Agency’s new climate science program won’t be free
Environment Protection Administration (EPA) climate scientist Mark Jacobson said the EPA’s new Climate Science Program will not be free.
“The Climate Science program is not funded at all by the EPA,” Jacobson told Al Jazeera in an interview.
“I think we’re a bit ahead of where the climate science community has been in terms of making a real and meaningful contribution to the conversation,” he said.
“We’ve already done a lot, and there’s lots more to do.”
Jacobson, who joined the agency in 2014 as a science and technology officer, said he hoped to see the EPA use climate science to improve how it works with the public.
“This is the EPA and I’m going to be part of it,” he told Al Jazeeras.
“Climate science is not something you have to have a PhD in.
It’s something that you have some basic skills with and then some experience with.”
Jacobsons expertise lies in assessing the risk posed by extreme weather events.
The agency, which is part of the Department of Energy, has been working on how to manage climate change, which has contributed to the rise of extreme weather and heatwaves in the US.
He said the new climate program would provide an “unprecedented level of access” to information on extreme weather in the United States.
“It will be able to offer us a lot more information on the state of the climate than the federal government has,” he added.
The EPA has previously made climate change a priority, with a climate change policy and strategy being drafted in 2015.
Jacobson said he was pleased to be “on the front lines” to support this effort.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that climate change is real and it’s going to affect us for a long time,” he explained.
“If we do nothing, we’ll be a long way behind the rest of the world.”
The Climate Change Institute, a Washington-based think tank that supports policies to address climate change and its impacts, released a report last month which found that climate policy was under-funded and under-appreciated.
“In a world where the costs of inaction are enormous, the burden of climate inaction is even greater,” said the report.
“As a result, climate action initiatives and policy are rarely successful, even though they are often the most cost-effective means of addressing climate change.”