During her first National Space Council meeting Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the Biden Administration’s new space policy would make the fight against climate change a top priority.
Harris, who chairs the council, stressed the importance of improving the gathering and dissemination of satellite technology that is used to track and predict extreme weather on Earth.
“Just think, these satellites provide real-time images of the landscape of our nation as natural disasters increase in frequency and ferocity around our country,” she said. “These images are being used by first responders. These images are being used by farmers to assess their crops as drought and heat threatens their livelihood, threatens our ability to produce food as a nation, and by scientists who are working to combat the climate crisis head-on.”
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“Today, this council will commit to making this data more accessible to more people, and we will expand our global partnerships to increase the data we are able to collect,” she also noted.
The White House issued a “Space Priorities Framework” earlier Wednesday that said the U.S., through collaboration between the public, private and philanthropic sectors, will “accelerate the development and use of Earth observation to support climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
From @FoxNews: “Vice President Kamala Harris announced during her first National Space Council meeting Wednesday that the Biden administration’s new space policy will make the fight against climate change a top priority.”https://t.co/qBbzFPm5Qh #FoxNews— Herbie Ziskend (@HerbieZiskend46) December 2, 2021
The climate change issue is up there with three top priorities that the council will tackle under Harris’ leadership. The other two include “promoting rules and norms” that govern space activities around the globe and building up the U.S. workforce in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Harris said.
The National Space Council is a relic of the George H. W. Bush Administration, created by executive order in 1989 with the
Vice President at the helm. Made up of executive cabinet members, the NASA administrator, and leaders in the space industry, the council’s goal is to advise on how to set the space agenda and come up with new solutions for addressing current space issues.
The original Space Council was dissolved in 1993, but it was resurrected under the Trump Administration and helmed by then-Vice President Mike Pence after more than two decades of a hiatus. During Trump’s presidency, the National Space Council met a total of eight times during live-streamed events in which members shared new concerns and problems that needed to be addressed regarding space.
Today, we welcomed @VP Kamala Harris to @NASAGoddard for a first-hand look at how our @NASAEarth and @NASAClimate programs help people manage vital natural resources and track the impacts of climate change: https://t.co/TlgPRIOEkw pic.twitter.com/6w1mVMsQQT— NASA (@NASA) November 6, 2021
The new framework keeps many of the priorities set by the Trump Administration but adds climate change and STEM initiatives.