Jun 15 2016

AK CASC Director Appointed to the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Management

The Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center’s University Director, Scott Rupp was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science (ACCCNRS) in April.

ACCCNRS was established in 2013 and is comprised of 25 members from an assortment of backgrounds and expertise. Each member represents a stakeholder or is someone that is interested in the Climate Science Centers (CASC). This includes employees from local and state government, non-governmental organizations, tribal communities, land owners, and academia. Rupp now holds one of the two academic positions on the committee.

Each member’s term lasts two to three years and approximately half of the initial committee members decided not to renew their term. This means empty committee chairs to fill with one reserved for Rupp.

“It’s really important to have the voice of the climate center hosts [on the committee],” says Rupp.

The main purpose of the ACCCNRS is to provide advice to the Secretary of the Interior on matters pertaining to the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and the CASCs.

NCCWSC is the operational hub for the national network of CASCs and acts as their administration center. With this term in mind, the committee evaluates how the CASCs are operating and what they are producing. Members look at these centers to determine if they are striving towards the mission that they were each assigned.

The first three years of the ACCCNRS was mainly spent defining the term actionable science. Committee members conceived actionable science, or science that

“provides data, analyses, projections, or tools that can support decisions regarding the management of the risks and impacts of climate change. It is ideally co-produced by scientists and decision-makers and creates rigorous and accessible products to meet the needs of stakeholders.”

The definition was created in order to help NCCWSC and the CASCs better improve their work and better meet needs of diverse stakeholders.

ACCCNRS members discuss the needs of the communities that they represent and how the CASCs can efficiently address those needs.

Rupp explained that all of the committee members bring something valuable to the table. With his background and involvement with the CASCs, Rupp believes he’s there to help keep the conversations and recommendations useful.

“It’s important to have some people around the table that can point out the realities of day to day operations and how things potentially can and can’t work,” says Rupp.

“I hear what [the committee members] are hoping for the CASC to do and I’m communicating that back to my peers,” says Rupp. “We want the CASCs to be doing as best a job as possible of carrying out their mission.”

After evaluation and collaboration, ACCCNRS members also provide recommendations to the NCCWSC to advance the centers’ operations and to the Secretary of the Interior on improving the whole CASC network.