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Congress Views Results of NSF-Funded Research Projects

1 June 2010 No Comment
Steve Pierson, ASA Director of Science Policy

    From left: Montserrat Fuentes, ASA President Sastry Pantula, Rep. Howard Coble, Rep. Walter Jones, and Matt Peterson stand in front of the poster summarizing Fuentes’s NSF-funded research project on the effects of climate change on tropospheric ozone. Photo by David Scavone of Scavone Photography (www.scavonephoto.com)

    Steve Pierson, ASA director of science policy (right), discusses Montserrat Fuentes’s climate change poster with Rep. Brad Miller. Photo by David Scavone of Scavone Photography (www.scavonephoto.com)

    Montserrat Fuentes, a professor in the statistics department at North Carolina State University, represented the ASA at the 16th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Capitol Hill Exhibition on April 14. The CNSF exhibit highlights to Congress research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Fuentes also made Hill visits on behalf of the ASA Climate Change Policy Advisory Committee (CCPAC).

    Fuentes’s poster summarized her NSF-funded research projecting the effects of climate change on tropospheric ozone in the eastern United States in the early 2040s. It also highlighted the contributions statisticians bring to climate change and health impacts research, including the quantification of uncertainty, expression of projections in terms of probabilities, and the evaluation the climate models. Because of the policymakers in attendance, Fuentes emphasized the tools statisticians provide to facilitate policymaking and more efficient management of air quality and other environmental agents under limited information and changing climatic conditions.

    A number of representatives and their staffs visited with Fuentes at her poster. Overall, 250 people were estimated to have attended the event, including nine members of Congress.

    Prior to the evening exhibition, Fuentes participated in seven meetings on Capitol Hill to advocate full funding for President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget request for NSF and discussed the work of CCPAC. Accompanied by The Ohio State University professor Mark Berliner and ASA Director of Science Policy Steve Pierson, she met with Rep. David Price (NC-4), staff for North Carolina senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, and several congressional committees.

    One of the CCPAC documents Fuentes discussed in her Hill meetings was a review (PDF download) of the research on the health impacts of climate research that she co-wrote with five other statisticians. Her group concluded that the research indicates a significant health impact of climate change is increased mortality from global warming. The group also discussed infectious disease and pollution impacts. While finding no “consensus among scientists regarding an increase of infectious diseases under climate change,” they did find that climate change is expected to result in larger concentrations of tropospheric ozone, which would lead to more ozone-related deaths.

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