Ogmius Newsletter

Project News

Science Policy Assessment and Research on Climate (SPARC)

SPARC logoThe Science Policy Assessment and Research on Climate (SPARC) project is one of five interdisciplinary teams funded by NSF in 2004 to study problems associated with understanding climate-related decisions under uncertainty (DMUU). SPARC is a joint project between the University of Colorado at Boulder and Arizona State University.

SPARC focuses on the relationship between climate science policy and climate-related decision making. Over the past few decades, public support of climate science has been justified by its potential to support decision making related to human activities and their potential to alter climate. Science policy decisions shape the conduct and output of climate research by guiding resource allocations, disciplinary and interdisciplinary priorities and methods, institutional design, human resources, and standards of evaluation. Society’s strategy for responding to and preparing for climate change in the face of ongoing uncertainty thus hinges on the relationship between science policy decisions and climate policy decisions. SPARC will conduct research and assessments, outreach and education aimed at helping climate science policies to better support climate-related decision making in the face of fundamental and often irreducible uncertainties.

The SPARC research agenda will focus on two themes:

  • Reconciling Supply and Demand (RSD) for climate research, or how research agendas are developed and user demand for research assessed; and
  • Sensitivity Analysis (SA), or how specific issues are prioritized given the multiple causes of global environmental change.

There are currently four SPARC research projects:

  • Climate Science Policy in the Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) Program
  • Reconciling Supply and Demand-Carbon Cycle Science Activities
  • Ecosystem Function Sensitivity Analysis Activities
  • Extreme Events and Climate Change

Through outreach SPARC seeks to build a boundary organization that can promote productive interaction among stakeholder groups.  Current outreach efforts include a weblog, SPARC-sponsored and related events, SPARC and climate science policy news items, links, and a section for “SPARC Highlights.”

SPARC supports graduate students and post-docs at both campuses. It is committed to under-represented groups and is actively seeking partnerships with compatible programs at the University of Colorado and Arizona State University.

Future opportunities will be posted on the SPARC website.  For more information on SPARC please visit the new SPARC website.

Policy, Politics, and Science in the White House:
Conversations with Presidential Science Advisors

Photo of MarburgerDr. John Marburger, science advisor to George W. Bush, launched this year-long series on February 14 by addressing a crowd of 400+ on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus.  Dr. Marburger’s prepared remarks were followed by a dialogue with Center director Roger Pielke, Jr., about several key science policy issues that have arisen during the Bush administration.  Dr. Marburger then answered selected questions from the audience.  A transcript of the event, along with a webcast, are available on the series website.  Dr. Marburger also visited classes and met with graduate students, local scientists, and CU faculty during his 2-day visit to Boulder.

Bob Palmer, former Democratic Staff Director of the House Science Committee, gave a talk on April 18 titled "Science, Policy and Politics: A View From the Hill."  Dr. John Gibbons, advisor to Bill Clinton, is scheduled to speak on April 28 at 7:00 pm in Hale 270.  Next fall we will host Edward David, advisor to Richard Nixon (September 12 at 7:00 pm in the Old Main Auditorium), Neal Lane, advisor to Bill Clinton (October 5-6, date of talk TBD), Donald Hornig, advisor to Lyndon Johnson (October 24 at 7:00 pm, location of talk TBD), and George Keyworth, advisor to Ronald Reagan (November 29 at 7:00 pm, location of talk TBD).  In addition to the public talks each advisor will visit classes and meet with students, faculty, and scientists.

For more information visit the series website.  Updates about future events will be posted here as well as on the Center's home page.