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NOAA Environmental Leadership Seminar Series: Past Presentations

Equity in Climate Science and Policy

by Katie Rowley on 2022-03-10T09:49:00-05:00 | Comments


Date: March 8, 2022 | 2- 3 PM ET

Presenter: Ko Barrett, NOAA's Senior Advisor for Climate

Abstract: Every day, NOAA is helping the nation address the challenges of climate change. As a key part of these efforts, NOAA is prioritizing equity considerations in the provision of our climate data, science, and services to people and communities across the nation. More specifically, we are working to address the significant service equity gaps in vulnerable and disproportionately impacted communities, including those living in the most exposed and hazardous areas and those that have the fewest resources to plan and respond.

In many ways, this effort is mirrored in the broader climate community, including internationally. For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is working to enhance gender equality and inclusivity and improve representation of developing countries in its processes. Furthermore, equity issues are at the core of UN-sponsored climate negotiations and were recently front and center at the recent Conference of the Parties (COP26). Specifically, the climate convention, like many UN agreements, includes a provision that recognizes the fundamental difference between wealthy nations, who have primarily caused the climate change problem through their release of GHG emissions, and poorer nations, who have historically not contributed large amounts of GHGs and are inherently more vulnerable to climate impacts. 

Ms. Barrett has been working on climate issues for over 20 years, including as a federal leader, climate negotiator, and, currently, as NOAA’s Senior Climate Advisor and an IPCC Vice-Chair. Drawing on this experience, Ms. Barrett will discuss the consideration of equity in climate science and policy, how that has evolved over time, and what the future could look like. Further, she will share her unique perspectives on the importance of integrating equity into everything we do, if we hope to effect lasting change. 

Bio: Ms. Barrett currently serves as the NOAA Senior Advisor for Climate. She is widely recognized globally as an expert on climate policy, particularly on issues related to climate impacts and strategies to help society adapt to a changing world. Ms. Barrett provides strategic advice and scientific leadership for climate research, applications, and services to coordinate and integrate activities across NOAA's portfolio of climate-related programs to enhance the effectiveness of NOAA in meeting climate mission goals. She is also currently serving as a Vice Chair for the IPCC. Prior to her current role, Ms. Barrett served as the NOAA Research Deputy Assistant Administrator for Programs and Administration, where she supervised daily operations and administration of several major NOAA research programs, including the Climate Program Office, Ocean Acidification Program, and National Sea Grant College Program. Ms. Barrett has also served as deputy director of NOAA Research’s Climate Program Office. In addition, for over fifteen years, she served as a member of U.S. delegations charged with reviewing and adopting scientific assessments undertaken by the IPCC, and as the lead U.S. climate adaptation negotiator to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ms. Barrett was instrumental in negotiating the Global Framework for Climate Services under the World Meteorological Organization and was NOAA’s climate representative to its Executive Committee and Congress for many years. Before joining NOAA, she was the Global Climate Change Program director at the United States Agency for International Development. 

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