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Northrop Urges Obama: Boost Climate-Change Tech
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|by Reuters - Monday, 8 December 2008
"Here's the task that calls to us: to tame an ocean of data for practical uses," said Ronald Sugar, board chairman and chief executive of Los Angeles-based Northrop.
Many of the required tools and techniques have been developed for national security purposes, he told a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, a private research organization.
"What I'm calling for is for the new administration to undertake a national initiative to leverage those investments to provide broad access to decision-quality climate knowledge," Sugar said.
"And here is quite possibly the best opportunity for our nation, and for the next administration, to demonstrate global leadership on the issue of climate change," he added.
A vast amount of Earth-monitoring data is available from myriad space, airborne and surface sensors around the globe, maintained by scores of countries.
The problem, experts say, is integrating the information and tailoring it, for instance, to mitigate disasters and to create a knowledge base for sustainable growth.
Currently, the U.S. government budgets about $2.5 billion a year to gather data for weather, climate, hazards, ecosystems, resource management and other applications.
A CSIS task force called in a July report for the U.S. government to double its budget for Earth observations to $5 billion annually.
Northrop Grumman, in recent years the Pentagon's No. 3 supplier after Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, derived a "few percent" of its revenues from related activities and foresaw an opportunity to earn more, Sugar said in reply to a question.
Nancy Colleton of the Alliance for Earth Observations said if the United States is to transition to a green economy, "we must have the environmental tools and capabilities" outlined by Sugar. The alliance links industry, academic and non-governmental organizations promoting the use of Earth observations for social and economic benefit.
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