Climate Services: Think Local
This is one of a series interviews with climate and development experts conducted at the International Conference on Climate Services, held at Columbia University in October 2011.
Edward Carr is the Global Climate Change Science Adviser to the US Agency for International Development. He wants to ensure that international climate services will take into account the needs of users at a local scale–agricultural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, for example. There’s often a disconnect, he says, between the kind of information that the scientific community generates and the kind of information local communities need to actually make decisions.
“I think one of the mistakes we make, frequently, is we go out to these kinds of communities and we tend to assume that people maybe don’t know what they want or don’t know what they need…Folks make a living with very little resources and sometimes in very difficult circumstances and we should take that very seriously, and build from what they’re doing and what they know how to do to design our services…I think we have to get a lot more humble about what we can do with our science, and what is actually going to be useful with our science.”