Science to Climate Action Network (SCAN) Formed to Replace National Climate Assessment Committee

The Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment (Committee), an interagency federal advisory group that was disbanded by the Trump administration has reorganized as the Science to Climate Action Network (SCAN). The new organization was formed at the invitation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and is financially supported by Columbia University, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the American Meteorological Society.

SCAN released a new report on April 4, 2019, Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action, written by a group of climate scientists, state, local, and tribal officials, and most of the former members of the federal Committee. The report details the increasing impacts of climate change, analyzes the types of support needed by communities, and makes three main recommendations: (1) establishment of a network to assess how to apply science in making and implementing decisions; (2) focus on the common problems and challenges faced by climate risk managers; and (3) use of new methods, such as artificial intelligence, to support climate risk management.

The Committee was created under the Global Change Research Act of 1990, and required to complete a National Climate Assessment every four years. It released reports in 2000, 2009, and 2014. The reports addressed topics such as the cascading impacts of climate change across interdependent infrastructure systems and provided high-resolution scenarios of climate projections with more localized information. The Committee’s charter expired on August 20, 2017, and due to ideological conflicts with the Trump administration it was not renewed. The Committee’s Fourth and final Climate Assessment Report was released in two parts in October and November 2018.

The U.S. economy is projected to lose $500 billion a year from crop and property damage, lost labor, and other extreme weather damage. Rainfall levels and flooding have increased in much of the country, with the amount of the U.S. West consumed annually by wildfires set to increase as much as sixfold by 2050, according to the assessment. But most communities lack the knowledge, political will, or funding to make practical plans to reduce the effects of climate damage. There is also no national sea level rise plan in the United States, and the Trump administration has reversed regulations relating to building infrastructure in areas deemed vulnerable to climate change.

Related Reading:

Richard Moss et al., Bridging the Gap With the Science for Climate Action Network, EOS: Earth & Space Science News, April 4, 2019, https://eos.org/project-updates/bridging-the-gap-with-the-science-for-climate-action-network.

Oliver Milman, Climate Change Group Scrapped by Trump Reassembles to Issue Warning, grist, April 6, 2019, https://grist.org/article/climate-change-group-scrapped-by-trump-reassembles-to-issue-warning/.

 

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