Rick Piltz, the guy who left the U.S. Climate Change Science Program in a highly visible way last summer, has a piece in the Dec. 27 issue of the American Geophysical Union’s Eos, calling for a “Second U.S. National Climate Change Assessment.”
Piltz argues that the National Assessment, completed in 2000, was “a pioneering experiment in stakeholder engagement and societal relevance” that has been abandoned in favor of a process “in which drafts by lead authors will undergo final review at a political level prior to being published as government documents.” In addition to complaining about a lack of independence, Piltz complains that the work just plain isn’t getting done:
These prospective reports do not amount to an integrated effort to effectively inform society and policy-makers responsible for dealing with the climate change problem…. In addition, the convoluted bureaucratic process under which these reports are being developed has led to lengthy delays in even the early stages of designing and drafting them.
Only one of 21 planned reports has even been released in draft form, Piltz complains:
The whole enterprise has become bogged down.
Although a great effort may be expended over a period of yeras by a large number of scientific expert authors and reviewers to produce these reports, the process seems designed to `run out the clock’ on eight years of this administration and about $16 billion in funding for research without even coming close to producing a coherent body of assessment work on anthropogenically-influenced climate change and its implications for national policy-making and planning.
Piltz calls for “a second U.S. National Climate Change Assessment … based on advances since the 1990s in understanding the climate system and potential ecological and societal impacts of climate change in the United States.” And he calls for the institutionalization of the process, “i.e. an ongoing dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, and other stakeholders, with periodically updated, scientifically-based assessments.”