Input from the AMS Community on Ways to Address Climate Change

Congress is currently considering draft legislation proposing huge increases in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) while at the same time extending its basic research portfolio to include technology development and application of research and development for direct societal benefit. NSF is reaching out to constituent science communities for ideas of effectiveness and scope that would merit such investment. AMS has been asked to gather from our community ideas that address climate change and to provide these by 1 June. Such a short fuse requires we ask broadly for preliminary ideas from individual and institutional members even as we scramble to put into place a bit of structure for ensuring diversity, inclusion, and equity in the input and for some degree of analysis and synthesis in preparing the report.

The request from NSF is provided below to provide context for this project. If you have ideas to share, please do so using this form (submissions received before 20 May will be most readily considered for inclusion in the final report):

Selected text from the request from NSF:

Earth to Economy: Accelerating Innovation for Climate Change Solutions

Date: April 16, 2021

Preamble: Climate change is the most pressing challenge facing society today. Geoscientists can play an important leadership role in ideating and designing use-inspired solutions that preserve the environment through engagement with stakeholders across the realm of industry, government, and academia. We now have an opportunity to translate advances in science, technology, and engineering to society and the economy to create a thriving earth enterprise that culminates in actions and programs focused on identifying and implementing practicable climate change solutions.  

The charge is to crowdsource, through the communities you represent, ideas, focus areas, and research and development roadmaps where the most impacts can be made in the shortest amount of time (2 to 3 years) for creating a thriving planet in a warming world where change, sometimes dramatic, is the norm not the exception.  A critical element of this charge is development of conversations on the value of translation of research results to society and the economy because this expedites how we move forward in a changing climate while still protecting the environment and transforming the well-being and safety of people and driving prosperity, health, and national security.

Additional Consideration:  A serious issue facing the geosciences academic community is the relatively low understanding of translational and use-inspired research and what that means and how it is done. We need to mobilize the geoscience academic community to take the scientific outcomes of foundational research on climate change to the next level to help inform adaptation, and mitigation strategies using cutting-edge technology and engineering. As part of your charge, NSF is looking for ideas and activities/programs for how this limitation can be overcome, especially in work focused on the climate sector and ideas on how our communities and institutions can incentivize this behavior, accelerating the development of an entrepreneurial mindset so geoscience is positioned to benefit from potential future funding opportunities.  

Issues to be addressed:

  1. Identify the biggest, more important interdisciplinary/convergent challenges in climate change that can be addressed in the next 2 to 3 years and a list of corresponding stakeholders, potential partners, and high impact deliverables to society and the economy. Do not limit your ideas to a single theme or topic. Longer terms topics will be considered but should include what critical and impactful products/concepts can be delivered in the 2–3-year timeframe.
  2. Create 2-yr and 3-yr roadmaps to address the identified challenges and provide solutions, keyed to proposed milestones and the timing of delivery of high impacts results and technology. Indicate partnerships required to deliver on the promise.
  3. Provide ideas on the creation of an aggressive outreach/communications plan to inform the public and decision makers on the critical importance of geoscience to providing solutions, tools, utilities, and technologies to help overcome/address identified challenges/problems in climate change.
  4. Identify information, training, and other resources needed to embed a culture of innovation, entrepreneurialism, and translational research in the geosciences.