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Three from ASU named to National Academies climate study


December 19, 2008

Three members of Arizona State University have been named to a prestigious U.S. National Academies study on climate change. James Buizer, special advisor to President Crow; B.L. Turner II, professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences; and Kathy Jacobs, executive director of the Arizona Water Institute are part of the National Academies’ year-long study to provide advice to the nation as it attempts to meet the challenges of climate change.

Called America’s Climate Choices, the study brings together some of the top U.S. scientists, engineers and other experts to address questions such as: What can be done to adapt to expected impacts? What can be done to better understand climate change? What can be done to inform effective decisions and actions? What can be done to limit the magnitude of future climate change? A separate panel of experts addresses each of these questions.

The four panels that make up America’s Climate Choices will produce a report that will be combined to make up the study that will be released by the end of 2009. Buizer will be part of the study’s Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, which is chaired by Jacobs.  This panel will assess actions and strategies to reduce vulnerability, improve resiliency and promote successful adaptation to climate change in different regions, sectors, systems and populations.

“This is a huge opportunity for ASU to impact the national research agenda related to climate change,” said Jacobs, who has served on five previous National Research Council panels, including the Committee to Review the U.S. Climate Change Strategic Plan.

The America’s Climate Choices suite of activities was authorized by Congress to tap experts and stakeholders from a range of communities including academia, business and industry, different levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the international community. Collectively, the experts will produce a broad, action-oriented and authoritative set of analyses to guide responses to climate change across the nation.

“The combined efforts of the four panels effectively will be setting strategy for how to deal with climate change in the new administration,” said Buizer, director for strategic institutional advancement at ASU.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, B.L. Turner II, has been appointed to the Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change. This panel, chaired by Pamela Matson of Stanford University, will review the status of climate change science and identify the near- and long-term advances in research required to better understand climate change in terms of its interactions with human and ecological systems.

“Our panel will be staking out the new generation of climate change science, guiding future research towards the sustainability themes embedded in climate change,” Turner said.

Jacobs is a national expert in water management, stakeholder engagement and challenges of water policy and climate change. As executive director of the Arizona Water Institute, Jacobs manages a consortium of the three state universities (ASU, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University) focused on water-related research, education, capacity building and technology transfer in support of water supply sustainability. Jacobs has more than 20 years of experience as a water manager in Arizona’s Department of Water Resources.

Turner is the Gilbert F. White professor of environment and society in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences. Turner studies human-environment relationships, specifically dealing with land change science, sustainability and tropical forests, as well as the ancient Maya. He currently is engaged in a long-term study on deforestation and sustainability in the southern Yucatan.  His work in these fields is recognized as amongst the best conducted to date.

Buizer is an internationally recognized expert in designing innovative science-to-action knowledge institutions focused on the human-climate interface, and in developing collaborative, interdisciplinary research programs aimed at sustainability solutions. He led the establishment of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, one of the nation’s leading organizations focused on sustainability solutions through research, education and operations. Prior to coming to ASU, Buizer spent 20 years as a director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, designing and managing climate adaptation research and applications programs.

The U.S. National Academies is made up of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. The Academies provide experts who address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

Sources:
James Buizer, (480) 965-6515
B. L. Turner II, (480) 965-1535

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