White House Launches Climate Change Data Website

Mar 19, 2014

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a new initiative designed to make climate data more accessible to researchers and industries trying to adapt to global warming.

The project includes the introduction of a climate-focused section of the federal government's open data platform at climate.data.gov; an innovation challenge to solicit ideas from the private sector to demonstrate coastal flooding; and collaboration with companies like Google and Ersi to provide technological support.

The initial version of climate.data.gov will focus on focus on coastal flooding and sea level rise, but the site will eventually provide information on other climate-related threats.

"By taking the enormous data sets regularly collected by NASA, NOAA, and other agencies and applying the ingenuity, creativity, and expertise of technologists and entrepreneurs, the Climate Data Initiative will help create easy-to-use tools for regional planners, farmers, hospitals, and businesses across the country—and empower America's communities to prepare themselves for the future," John Podesta, a White House counselor, and John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in a White House blog post Wednesday.

The administration's announcement is its most recent move to deliver on President's Obama's pledge last June to address climate change. Speaking to college students and environmental activists at GeorgetownUniversity, Obama said he would use his executive powers to cap carbon emissions of power plants. In February, the White House created a series of regional climate hubs the goal of helping farmers and rural communities combat the most serious impacts of climate change.

And pressure to make climate change a higher political priority is coming from outside the administration as well. Tom Steyer, a billionaire retired hedge-fund investor, is aiming to spend $100 million to make climate change a priority issue in this year's midterm elections.

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