During her confirmation hearings to become administrator of NOAA, Dr. Jane Lubchenco explained her perspective on decision-making that affects broad swaths of society. She stated that science is essential for making good decisions but that political processes also weigh human values. Meaningful climate policies aimed at adaptation and mitigation will certainly require Earth systems science, stewardship, and management from NOAA, NASA, and other U.S. science agencies. This welcome message, created for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) held December 7-18, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, sets those capabilities in a larger context in the spirit of Dr. Lubchenco's statements by also emphasizing that individuals and nations have solutions and choices available today.
The impetus for COP15 is that many nations face many challenges due to climate change. Each nation also has many possible solutions at hand. Regardless of what path nations take individually or together, we all share one integrated climate system. US Earth science agencies, like their counterparts internationally, monitor and model the Earth system continuously. Over a century of ground observations, decades of satellite monitoring, and computer modeling show us both the variability of climate patterns and long-term climate change trends. This media piece deliberately emphasizes that our understanding of climate change is built on sets of observations from land, in the ocean, in the cryosphere (snow and ice), and in the atmosphere. Taken together, the weight of evidence tells us all that anthropogenic climate change is real. The piece closes with a nod toward the common interest scientists, politicians, business leaders, and world citizens share to find solutions to human-caused climate change. We have many solutions available to us, but mustering the will to enact those solutions requires a common sense of purpose. With that motivation in mind, the piece illustrate humanity's cultural diversity and that we have a common purpose and interest in sustaining the physical and biological systems that sustain commerce, political stability, ecosystems, and species all over the planet. More simply, we only know of one planet in the universe that will sustain life, so our common purpose is to maintain that life support system.
The piece opens with "Welcome" translated into 23 languages so that people from diverse geographies will feel drawn in to the presentation. All annotations are rendered in the official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, simplified Chinese, Danish, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. This piece is available to the Science on a Sphere network in hopes it can support the communications objectives of each member institution.
For more information about Science On a Sphere at COP15, visit here