Microsoft’s Lucas Joppa Appointed to NOAA Climate Advisory Committee

Last week, Microsoft’s Lead Environmental Scientist Dr. Lucas Joppa was among 15 individuals appointed to the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. The committee will advise the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on ongoing climate research and assessment activities in order to improve the nation’s understanding and response to environmental change.

Microsoft recognizes the urgent, collective need to better understand and address the harmful effects of global climate change. We believe that by leveraging the power of new technology together with innovative and effective policies, we can succeed in transitioning to a sustainable, low-carbon future for our planet.

It’s a tremendous honor for us at Microsoft to have an employee, Dr. Lucas Joppa, serving on the NOAA Advisory Committee—a prime example of our company’s ongoing dedication to fostering research and innovation that will serve the world well. Dr. Joppa will serve a three-year term, through April 15, 2019. Read on to learn more about his new role in the following Q&A.

Dr. Lucas Joppa, Lead Environmental Scientist for Microsoft

The following is an interview with
Dr. Lucas Joppa, Lead Environmental Scientist for Microsoft and a new appointee to the NOAA’s Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. Dr. Joppa is a scientist at Microsoft Research where he leads efforts at the interface between scientific research and policy implementation – applying science and tools to help achieve international environmental goals.

Q: What is the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment?

LJ (Dr. Lucas Joppa): The Sustained National Climate Assessment is the ongoing process within the United States responsible for all national climate assessment activities, including projections of economic impacts of changing climates and actions required to minimize or avert those impacts. This process culminates every four years with the quadrennial Climate Assessment as required by U.S. law. The Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment is a committee of 15 experts selected from across the country for their international expertise in disciplines relevant to the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Members are appointed by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans & Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, in consultation with Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Q: What are the Advisory Committee’s goals and why are they important?

LJ: The committee’s goals are to ensure that the full scope of U.S. viewpoints, geography, and business sectors are represented in the climate assessment, and to work towards a transparent communication process between the government and the nation’s scientific community. This is critical for securing buy-in across business and social sectors for the assessment’s findings and recommendations.

Q: What’s your role on the Advisory Committee? How does your role at Microsoft inform your service on the committee?

LJ: I plan on using my role in a few ways: First, I will be representing views to and from the technology sector – particularly about how we can contribute to a more climate-friendly economy. Second, I’ll be serving as a scientific expert, particularly focused on the ways climate influences biodiversity, ecosystems, and the services they all provide to humanity.

Q: What impact do you hope to make?

LJ: I hope to help the committee think hard about how technology, and the technology sector, can change the game when it comes to how the U.S. deals with climate change. There is a lot of power in the technology sector, from clean energy demand for datacenters to changing the way people work, relax, and travel through cloud services and applications. Hopefully we can make sure some of the progress we make in those areas is beneficial to a climate-dependent U.S. economy.

Q: Any final thoughts?

LJ: Over the past 50 years the technology sector has re-written what humans are capable of achieving when they join forces with machines. At the same time, climate change has become one of the broadest and most powerful threats to the stability of the U.S. economy and our way of life. One of humanity’s grand challenges is to figure out how to leverage the infrastructure of the information age to counter changing climates and their associated impacts. I’m looking forward to the helping the U.S. devise a solution!

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