Congress Ponders a New Climate Agency
By Andrew Freedman of The Post's Capital Weather Gang:
A significant shakeup may soon take place within the federal government's weather and climate programs, as the House Science and Technology Committee is scheduled to consider legislation on June 3 that would establish a "National Climate Service" within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Climate Service would head up the government's efforts to provide policy-relevant information about climate and climate change to decision makers and the public, something which outside reviews have found to be lacking in the country's multibillion dollar climate research programs to date.
As the deliberations on the proposal have made clear, the issue isn't so much whether to create a new climate entity of some kind, but rather how to go about doing so. Some, such as the National Weather Service Employees Organization, favor placing the new service within the existing National Weather Service (NWS), arguing that to do otherwise would duplicate existing functions and waste taxpayer dollars. The legislation to be considered next week, however, would create a new stand-alone office within NOAA, which currently appears to be the most likely scenario to be implemented. This approach is favored by President Obama's NOAA administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, among others.
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