ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY TEAMS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AND ARIZONA WATER INSTITUTE TO HOST THINK TANK FOR NATIONAL CLIMATE LEADERS “Listening Session” is Part of a Nationwide Series by the Climate Change Science Program to Garner Stakeholder Input on Climate Change Information; Long-Range Strategic Planning PHOENIX/TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State University (ASU) joined a select group of locations to host a “Listening Session,” part of a nationwide series by Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). The sessions are designed to engage and listen to both climate scientists and users of climate information so that CCSP can better understand the scientific opportunities and societal needs that should be addressed in the next iteration of the climate science program and in preparation for the new administration of President Barack Obama. Co-hosted by ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, the Climate Assessment for the Southwest at the University of Arizona, the Arizona Water Institute and the CCSP, the event gathered natural resources and land managers, and state and local decision makers whose efforts will be impacted by climate change, from across the Southwest to secure feedback that will be used by the CCSP to create of a series of “building blocks” and, ultimately, the organization’s new strategic plan. “We learned a great deal at this event about climate issues and approaches in the Southwest, and the passionate engagement of managers facing these issues. It was particularly timely to hear their concerns during a time of transition here in Washington, and we hope to bring these insights to the discussions taking place,” said Chester J. Koblinsky, Ph.D., director in the Climate Program Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Stakeholders involved in the study and application of climate change factors face a range of issues, including ecosystem and endangered species management concerns, drought and water resources issues, cap-and-trade mitigation measures (and regulating greenhouse gases), public health and disease vectors, energy and power supply management, and outreach and public education. The Listening Session at ASU centered on identifying the information needs of Southwestern decision makers and the effective communication of climate change messages, and collaboratively recommended several key items for consideration. Among these is placing an increased emphasis on observed climate changes and how they relate to both historical impacts and economic effects. This includes creating stronger ties between climate science and economic consequences to help meet the challenge of integrating probabilities of climate change into tangible risk management. Participants encouraged extra outreach to elected officials at both the local and state levels, citing these decision makers as having significant influence over policy and the climate change issues facing the state and region, and collectively representing a group that would benefit from the latest news and research from the climate change community. Similarly, stakeholders at the Arizona session emphasized the need for local spatial scales and increased investment in regional and local expertise—versus federally funded labs—to help guide the effective, long-term ecological systems that sustain our quality of life. “The Southwest has much to show the nation about climate information systems. Co-convening such an important effort with our colleagues from the University of Arizona and Arizona Water Institute made this a regional effort and added tremendously to the success of the collaboration,” said James Buizer, senior advisor to the president and director for strategic institutional advancement in ASU’s Office of the President. “Jointly, we were able to demonstrate to national climate leaders the close working relationships we have between university researchers and water decision-makers, and provide input that will help shape the future of climate change messages being delivered by the CCSP.” CCSP Listening Sessions began in October 2007. The discussion and inputs received at each session will be summarized and collected into a single document integrating the various inputs and recommendations received at each venue. These inputs will then be considered in the development of the organization’s strategic “building blocks.” More information on the Listening Sessions and CCSP is available at www.climatescience.gov.