Science

NASA is ready to take on the world with its new climate action plan

NASA has big plans to fight climate change and its devastating global impacts with a new climate action plan that the agency released on Thursday (October 7).

Climate change and its effects pose such an imminent threat to life as we know it around the world that it is now described as the “climate crisis”, as the United Nations has written. US President Joe Biden aims to address the crisis with a “whole of government” approach utilized by the National Climate Task Force, which includes leaders from dozens of federal agencies and departments, according to a statement. of the White House. As part of this approach, NASA (along with 22 other large agencies) has developed a new climate action plan.

“NASA has unique assets that it must protect – science equipment and capabilities that enable us to understand this climate crisis on Earth, as well as explore the universe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a NASA statement. “Fortunately, we have the ingenuity and engineering capabilities to ensure that our agency’s resources remain resilient to this growing threat. NASA is committed to safeguarding our mission for decades to come and, through the data we provide to the world We will help other agencies make sure they can do the same. “

The climate action plans for the 23 federal agencies involved, and you can read the full text here.

Related: Nobel Prize in Physics goes to a trio whose research alerted the world to climate change

While many different federal agencies are contributing to this approach, NASA is one of the few agencies conducting its own climate research. NASA scientists have been using tools like Earth monitoring satellites to study Earth’s climate and collect valuable data for many years. This has included studying ice loss, ozone levels, sea level rise, temperature, rainfall, extreme weather and much more, NASA described in the statement.

However, with their expansive infrastructure, NASA facilities not only contribute to climate awareness, but are also threatened by the impacts of climate change, NASA said in the statement, adding that two-thirds of NASA assets are in high-risk locations.

In fact, according to NASA’s statement, approximately “two-thirds of the agency’s assets when measured by replacement value are within 16 feet of mean sea level along the shores of the United States. Some of these assets are located in areas already experiencing high water levels and other impacts from sea level rise. Temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events are expected to affect others. “

With both its assets and concerns in mind, NASA developed its climate action plan and submitted it for review by the National Climate Task Force, the Federal Director of Sustainability at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

NASA’s plan includes five main areas of focus:

  • Identify aspects of climate change that threaten access to space;
  • Integrate climate risk analysis and adaptation strategies into overall NASA plans;
  • Integrate climate change resilience planning information into NASA plans for its centers;
  • Develop next generation climate models and update climate modeling techniques;
  • Collaborate with partners in aviation to reduce carbon dioxide and develop climate solutions.

Members of the public can share comments on NASA’s climate action plan, as well as the plans of the other 22 agencies through November 6, 2021, by submitting comments here.

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@ or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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