Tahoe institute for_environmental_security_presendation


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DRI Foundation Forum on Environmental Security - From Snowpack to Thirst

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Tahoe institute for_environmental_security_presendation

  1. 1. Creating a World Renown Center for Environmental Security in Tahoe Maureen McCarthy, PhD Executive Director, Tahoe Science Consortium Presentation to DRI Foundation Board 8 June 2012
  2. 2. Roadmap from TSC to TIES• TSC brief history and why it’s important• TSC in Transition• Why it’s important not to lose the intellectual capital that has worked in Tahoe for decades• How we can leverage our knowledge and expertise to address Environmental Security: The Issue of Our Times• Introducing The Tahoe Institute for Environmental Security• Why Nevada is the place• Path Forward 2
  3. 3. Tahoe Science Consortium: History and Importance• TSC formed in 2005 through a MOU with DRI, UNR, UCD-TERC, USGS, USFS-PSW to coordinate applied research in the Basin• Developed the Integrated Science Plan for the Lake Tahoe• Responsible for managing the largest research program in the Basin ($3.4M/yr)• Funded through the LTRA and SNPLMA• Promoted science-based decision-making by Federal, state, local agencies 3
  4. 4. TSC In Transition• Last round of SNPLMA research grants ($3.4M) awarded in May 2012 (3 years grants)• TSC operations funded until 1 March 2015 (maybe)• New LTRA DOA in Congress and no chance of another SNPLMA• Federal research funding in decline and no “place-based research” in the pipeline• Losing researchers b/c future research funding looks bleak 4
  5. 5. Need to Leverage Our Intellectual Expertise Before it’s Too Late• Research at Tahoe has produced a wealth of information about: – Biophysical processes in ultra oligotrophic lakes – Impacts of AIS (plant/animal) – Fire ecology and fuel management – Watershed ecology and hydrology – Atmospheric processes in mountain airsheds – Urban development and environmental change Smog from smoke and suspended fine – Climate change impacts on mountain aquatic particles over the lake in summer. ecosystems – Environmental management effectiveness• This treasure trove of information can be used to encourage sustainable management of mountain ecosystems, nationally and globally Photo courtesy of Phil Caterino. Algal bloom in Emerald Bay.• Once the science community moves on it will be very difficult/impossible to rebuild it Thick plume of smoke rising from 2007 Angora Fire 5
  6. 6. It’s Time to Transition our Intellectual Capital and Share our Knowledge • Put Tahoe research in a broader context by exploiting our knowledge to mitigate and adapt to global environmental security challenges, – Water scarcity and energy shortages – Environmental health – Climate change – Population growth/urbanization – Biodiversity decline • Capitalize on the rich intellectual environment of NSHE and (UCD, USGS, others) to address the “Issue of our time” • Build a new business model that integrates environmental science with law, policy, human security, and economics • Create an environment that engages both the private and public sectors…follow the money 6
  7. 7. Why Environmental Security is “The Issue of Our Time”• SECDEF and DNI view climate and environmental change as “a major threat to national and global security now and for the foreseeable future”• ES is the ability of a nation, state, region, or society to withstand environmental asset scarcity, environmental risks or adverse changes, or environment-related tensions or conflicts.• Knowledge and action are needed to anticipate, respond to, and recover from threats Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks at an to human security and the biosphere due to annual reception for the Environmental Defense anthropogenic and natural causes. Fund, Washington, DC, May 2, 2012.• Nevada is acutely aware of the challenges of water scarcity due to climate change and urbanization and has pioneered adaptation technologies. 7
  8. 8. Why Mountain Ecosystems Matter• MEs are sensitive environments that serve as anchors to broader regional systems supplying important resources to half of world’s population, including, – Clean drinking water – Agricultural irrigation – Timber – Recreation – Energy generation• MEs provide vital ecosystem services including, – rich biodiversity – distinctive habitats – forest sinks for global CO2 – flood control• MEs are threatened by development, resource extraction, urbanization, climate change and other natural and anthropogenic impacts 8
  9. 9. Conceptual Idea: Tahoe Institute for Environmental Security (TIES) • An intellectually rich environment that attracts scientists, policy-makers, and industry leaders from around the world to exchange ideas and debate approaches for protecting environmental capital and enhancing human security • An innovative environment for professionals to learn new concepts in water management, energy & food security resource economics, ecosystem science, and climate adaptation, environmental conflict, and related topics • A secure environment that fosters constructive debate and the free and open exchange of ideas among individuals from disparate backgrounds and communities 9
  10. 10. What will TIES offer?• Multimedia outreach: Visualization tools, research studies & analysis, virtual environment, meetings/workshops, education• A suite of technical hands-on workshops on timely topics including, – Water security, alternative energy, ecosystem functions, alpine resource economics, water security, urban agriculture, environmental management, and climate change• A venue for individuals with contrary viewpoints to have unconstrained discussions on critical issues affecting the planet• Opportunities for scientists, policy- makers, regulators and the business community to explore creative solutions for environmental sustainabilityand resilience 10
  11. 11. Why Tahoe? Play to Our “Unfair Advantage”• Build it and they will come!• Environmental Security is a real issue in the West - NV and CA depend on predictable, reliable, consistent Sierra Nevada snowpack• Access and opportunities to build public-private partnerships with West Coast entities• National security community is alive, well, and active in Nevada• Tahoe can/should be the model for environmental sustainability 11
  12. 12. Nevada Knows Water Matters“Nevada State Climate Office Issues Drought Declaration” (www.zimbio.com 1 June 2012) 12
  13. 13. And We are Not Alone… “Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture” Stockholm World Water Week, 2006 13
  14. 14. TIES will Combine Ideas from other Organizations• Policy Institutes are popular venues for scientists, policy- makers, government officials and the business community to come together to discuss cutting-edge ideas in informal and scenic settings. Examples include Aspen, Santa Fe, and Telluride Institutes• Wilton Park Conferences, hosted by the UK government, brings scientists, national security experts, government officials, economists and others together for candid dialogue in accordance with Chatham House Rules• Gordon Research Conferences are multiday scientific meetings held in scenic venues (e.g., New England boarding schools during summer break) designed create networks and encourage innovative thinking• TIES will combine elements from each of these models to create programs that foster understanding, cooperation and debate about issues at the nexus of environmental change and human security. 14
  15. 15. What will Make TIES Unique?• Venue for private sector, policy- makers, and scientists to exchange ideas and develop proactive approaches to survive and thrive in a changing climate• Partnerships with the nation’s leading environmental economists (e.g., Resources for the Future)• A network of partner institutions will bring a wide range of experts together from academia, industry and government• Focus on developing ROI Models for protecting environmental capital, e.g., – Value of Snow – Value of Blue 15
  16. 16. Why NSHE is the L1616inchpinfor TIES• DRI has world renown expertise in hydrology, climate change modeling, atmospheric processes, visualization…• Complements UNR and UNLV’s expertise in limnology, ecology, environmental economics & policy, human security, engineering…• Leverage DRI’s partnerships with public and private entities in Water-Energy- Aridity Research & Technology Concept to connect arid land issues to mountain ecosystems• DRI is the glue linking mountain ecosystems of Tahoe in Northern Nevada to arid urban environments in the South 16
  17. 17. Path Forward: From Ideas to Action• Gather feedback• Build partnerships/create the network• Develop the business model• Raise seed money for pilot studies• Market concept/Raise capital• Organize & kick-off workshops/meetings 17
  18. 18. Thank you for your time and feedback 18
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