Interior, Commerce Collaborate on Climate
The U.S. Department of Interior and Department of Commerce recently signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate and cooperate in climate-related activities involving science, services, mitigation, adaptation, education, and communication. Each department is already engaged in a number of climate programs, including Interior’s new climate science centers and landscape conservation cooperatives, and Commerce’s—through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—climate science and service centers, regional integrated sciences and assessments (RISA), and regional climate centers.
According to the agreement, the new partnership will “provide a framework to build upon existing partnerships that bring together the departments’ best available climate science and services to inform adaptation strategies and response decisions to manage America’s oceans, coasts, Great Lakes, and public lands.” The agreement recognizes the importance of coordination between the two departments in the areas of scientific research, training, monitoring and modeling, risk and vulnerability assessment, adaptive management strategies, and decision support tools. Clarity on the responsibilities and services of each of the various climate programs under the two departments would be one valuable service to the public—and perhaps to those within the agencies as well—that this agreement could produce.