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Biden administration taps EPA scientist Allison Crimmins to lead key climate report

Crimmins is a climate scientist who has worked at the EPA for the last decade, focusing on air quality issues. Crimmins appointment was first reported by The Washington Post.

The National Climate Assessment, overseen by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is a report involving 13 federal agencies that summarizes the state of climate change in the United States and how it will affect the nation in the future.

The Global Change Research Act mandates that an assessment be provided to the president and to Congress every four years. The next report, which will be the fifth, is due in 2023.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said in a news release that the forthcoming climate assessment will have new interactive tools to for everyday Americans and state and local officials to help mitigate, adapt and become more resilient against the impacts of climate change, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We want everyone to have useable and useful information so they can take the smart actions needed to minimize risk to their families, communities, and livelihoods,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the OSTP Deputy Director for Climate and Environment, in a statement. “That means putting information in the hands of the people.”

The office said the report and its data can help farmers dealing with heat waves plan the type of crops they can grow, based on extreme weather, and assist city planners retrofit drainage systems for heavy rain.

“When every American has access to practical, usable information on how climate change affects their businesses, families, and communities, they can both reduce risks and seize opportunities,” Crimmins said in a statement.

The most recent NCA was released by the Trump administration in 2018 on the Friday after Thanksgiving — rather than December, when it was supposed to come out — at a time when many Americans were distracted by the long holiday weekend. It came to the unequivocal conclusion: that climate change-fueled extreme weather events including fires and heat were dangerous to Americans. Yet the report had few policy recommendations to combat climate change.
The approach from the Biden White House is expected to be much different. President Joe Biden has said that combating climate change will be one of the top priorities of his administration. The administration is currently negotiating with Congress on climate funding in a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as a larger budget reconciliation bill.

With the US already dealing with impacts of climate change like extreme heat and historic droughts in the Western US, the OSTP says the report is meant be another tool to help Americans plan and adapt to a warming world.

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