In a refreshing change of pace, last week brought good news to the climate front! The Department of the Interior announced it had chosen the University of Arizona to lead a newly established Climate Science Center (CSC), the fourth of eight planned regional CSCs. Defenders of Wildlife was instrumental in making this a reality, working with lawmakers to pass legislation that established the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and helping to secure funding for the initiative.
The Climate Science Center is a critical component of our nation’s efforts to understand and plan for the impacts of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems. Along with the Dept. of the Interior and a science advisory board, the Center will work to develop a national strategy to assist fish, wildlife and plants in becoming more resilient to the impacts of climate change, adapting to life in a warming world.
After the Interior’s announcement, U.S. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, a friend of Defenders who helped lead the project, said, “This is a huge honor and a well-deserved recognition of the world-class talent we have at the University of Arizona. Climate research is some of the most important scientific work going on today, and this will be a huge economic and intellectual engine for the entire Southern Arizona community for years to come.”
The Southwest Climate Center will be led by another Defenders’ friend, Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, the co-director of the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment and an international authority on climate change. The consortium will also comprise the University of California, Davis; University of California, Los Angeles; Desert Research Institute, Reno; University of Colorado, Boulder; and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.