Military Officials Have a Hard Time Using Climate Data, New Report Says

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

A new report suggests that "multiple barriers" are impeding the flow of information between climate scientists and U.S. national security officials who need the work to inform their decisions. It also recommends that scientists find new ways to express their work. (A related report just released on the military challenges of climate change is here.)

The report, published by the Center for a New American Security, says that delays in producing scientific data can hurt policymakers. Scientists don't have much experience speaking with national security staff, it notes, and the different cultures contribute to the problem. There's also the challenge of making the data easier to understand.

The report flows from a "war game" conducted last summer in Washington, D.C., to simulate future climate negotiations.

"At times, the scientific and security researchers found each other mutually unintelligible," the report says. Among the report's recommendations: connecting climate and national security experts, appointing regional experts on climate change to regional bureaus of the U.S. State Department, and creating an interagency panel on climate/security within the White House and an advisory board to the Defense Science Board.

The report is here.

Posted in Climate, Policy