House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits NCAR to promote climate research funding – The Denver Post

In 2013, vehicles and roads were washed away during historically extreme flooding that occurred along the Front Range.

In the years since, thousands of homes have burned down throughout Boulder County as wildfires continue to grow more extreme and more frequent.

Those were only a few natural disasters that have occurred in Colorado in recent years that Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, mentioned on Wednesday during a round table with Colorado scientists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette.

But thanks to the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, Busalacchi said he is eager to see laboratories like Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research receive the funding they need to continue research and work to support Boulder County and the country in its battle to slow increasing natural disasters brought on by climate change.

“I’m particularly excited that we have the opportunity to share with you some of the work that we’ve been doing and from our colleagues here in the community, really to underscore the importance of the support that you are providing to us,” Busalacchi said. “That significant investment (is) producing the significant information necessary to build a resilient America.”

Following a tour of Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research, which experienced a wildfire in April, Pelosi and Neguse sat down to discuss the impact the bill will have on climate-based research. The bill commits about $375 billion over a decade toward initiatives like clean energy production, scientific research and wildfire mitigation. For Colorado, the bill includes $2 billion for national labs, of which $1.5 billion may go to support the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden with infrastructure upgrades and new facilities; $5 billion for forest and reforestation investments and wildfire mitigation programs; and $4 billion to help combat drought in the West.

Officials with Neguse’s office were unable to provide a specific breakdown to show which Colorado laboratories and organizations the funding will specifically support before publication Wednesday.

“This is an impactful moment I think for our country, for a real opportunity to make meaningful progress in the fight against what is the existential threat of our time, which is climate change,” Neguse said.

A decade ago, people could rely on forecasters from the National Weather Service to predict the weather in their area, said Paul Schlatter, sciences and operations officer with the National Weather Service. But the days of relying solely on one organization for weather and climate data are gone, he said.

Now, the job cannot be done without help from Boulder County, Boulder, the state and federal officials like Pelosi all working together, he said.

“The Marshall Fire is a perfect example of that. We had accurate model forecasts thanks to (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and that model is the best for forecasting how strong the winds would be, when they would hit and when they might let up,” he said. “We were providing that information to the people on the ground fighting the fire. It was invaluable.”

As the Colorado River continues to dry up, a portion of the $5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act will be used to address Colorado’s worsening drought. But that funding is only a down payment of what actually needs to be spent to address the pressing issue that will affect millions who rely on the river in California, Colorado and Arizona, Neguse said.

“When you think about a two to four million acre-feet shortage on the Colorado River, that is (an) epic challenge,” he said. “There’s more we need for water conservation projects that will be funded through the Inflation Reduction Act that will have a really positive impact. But clearly, we’re going to continue to work with the (U.S.) Bureau of Reclamation so that we can calibrate the actions we take in congress to support what’s happening on the ground.”

During the round table, Susie Strife, Boulder County’s director of sustainability, climate action and resilience, handed Pelosi a handwritten thank you card, which Strife said was from her daughter.

The card read “women rock,” Strife said.

Although the funding will be used to further support ongoing research at national research laboratories, to increase the production of electric vehicles and other climate change-related efforts, the bill will also be used to preserve and protect the planet for children like Strife’s daughter, Pelosi said.

“Most importantly, for the children, it is our moral responsibility to preserve the planet for them and pass it on to future generations,” she said.

Source: Read Full Article