National climate leaders convene for listening session


“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

About ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability

The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the US, offers integrated degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. ASU has a vision to be a New American University, blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines, promoting excellence among its students and faculty, conducting cutting-edge interdisciplinary research inspired by real world application, and leveraging its competitive advantage through strategic global engagement. For more information, visit

About Climate Assessment for the Southwest

Housed at the University of Arizona’s Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) was established in 1998 with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to improve the region’s ability to respond sufficiently and appropriately to climatic events and climate changes. The program promotes participatory, iterative research involving scientists, decision makers, resource users, educators, and others who need more and better information about climate and its impacts. CLIMAS investigators conduct research on the nature, causes and consequences of climate change and variability in the southwestern United States. The program also supports efforts to improve climate forecasting in the region. For more information, visit

About the Arizona Water Institute

A partnership between Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and The University of Arizona, the Arizona Water Institute (AWI) is working to position the state as a world leader in water resources management and technology. The primary driver for this initiative is sustaining Arizona's water supply, which is crucial to the state's economy, the health and well being of its residents and its natural environment. The AWI combines the expertise of Arizona's water managers with the resources of the three universities to support water resources management and technology development in real-world applications. This unique partnership—which also includes three state agencies, Water Resources (ADWR), Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and Commerce (ADOC)—was formed to provide access to hydrologic information, support communities, and develop technologies to promote water sustainability. For more information, visit

About the U.S. Climate Change Science Program

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) integrates federal research on climate and global change, as sponsored by thirteen federal agencies overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the National Economic Council and the Office of Management and Budget. During the past thirteen years the United States, through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), has made the world's largest scientific investment in the areas of climate change and global change research—a total investment of almost $20 billion. The USGCRP, in collaboration with several other national and international science programs, has documented and characterized several important aspects of the sources, abundances and lifetimes of greenhouse gases; has mounted extensive space-based monitoring systems for global-wide monitoring of climate and ecosystem parameters; has begun to address the complex issues of various aerosol species that may significantly influence climate parameters; has advanced our understanding of the global water and carbon cycles (but with major remaining uncertainties); and has developed several approaches to computer modeling of the global climate. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Karen Leland
Director, Communications/Marketing
Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University
[email protected]