'Climate hub' at NCSU to help rural areas adapt
Posted February 5
WASHINGTON — Aiming to help rural communities deal with climate change, the Obama administration is creating seven regional "climate hubs" that will serve as clearinghouses for information and outreach about extreme weather across the U.S.
One of the hubs will be based at a U.S. Forest Service research station on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"For generations, America's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges. Today, they face a new and more complex threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate, which impacts both our nation's forests and our farmers' bottom lines," Vilsack said in a statement. "USDA's Climate Hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions, so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate."
Other Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change will be in forest service stations or government research labs in Ames, Iowa; Durham, N.H.; Fort Collins, Colo.; El Reno, Okla.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Las Cruces, N.M. Three smaller "sub-hubs" will be created in Houghton, Mich.; Davis, Calif.; and Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
The hubs fulfill one aspect of a broader climate change plan that President Barack Obama unveiled last year.
Citing environmental changes such as longer fire seasons and intense droughts, the Agriculture Department said the hubs would help mitigate the unique implications that climate change poses for rural areas and the people who live there. The goal is to synchronize the federal government's preparation and resources with what other entities, such as universities, tribal communities and state governments, are doing to prepare for shifting temperatures.
The hubs will provide outreach and information to producers on ways to mitigate risks; public education about the risks climate change poses to agriculture, ranchlands and forests; regional climate risk and vulnerability assessments; and centers of climate forecast data and information. They will also link to a network of state and federal agencies, universities and non-governmental groups participating in climate risk adaptation and mitigation.
"This is the next step in USDA's decades of work alongside farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to keep up production in the face of challenges," Vilsack said. "If we are to be effective in managing the risks from a shifting climate, we'll need to ensure that our managers in the field and our stakeholders have the information they need to succeed. That's why we're bringing all of that information together on a regionally-appropriate basis."
The climate hub is the second major research operation the federal government has placed on Centennial Campus in recent weeks. Obama visited N.C. State last month to announce a $70 million Department of Energy grant that the university will lead to develop more efficient semiconductors.