President Obama said he wouldn’t wait for an intransigent Congress to take action on climate change – and the White House is following up on this promise by launching the Climate Data Initiative. The website at will make climate science data from different government agencies easily available to empower communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change, and it should also stimulate private sector innovation in the field of climate change preparedness. The website is currently in a pilot phase with a focus on coastal flooding and rising sea levels.

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“Through the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is today issuing a call to America’s top private-sector innovators to leverage open government data resources and other datasets to build tools that will make America’s communities more resilient to climate change and to forge cross-sector partnerships to make those tools as useful as possible,” the White House fact sheet states. “In response to this call to action, today’s launch includes a number of commitments by Federal agencies and private-sector partners.”

Related: President Obama Calls for ‘Year of Action’ in 2014 State of the Union Address

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) provided initial data for the project. The climate-related tools for communities, businesses and citizens include a federal data catalog, government and non-government software tools, digital maps, data and innovation challenges and additional resources.

The project offers a range of data to help communities prepare for coastal flooding and other effects of climate change – including information “on hundreds of thousands of the Nation’s infrastructure units and geographical features, including bridges, roads, railroad tunnels, canals, and river gauges.”

A report released Tuesday from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Climate Science Panel provides a sobering reminder of just how urgent the White House’s climate push is. The report, titled “What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change,” warns that “we are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts,” adding that “the sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do.”


+ White House Fact Sheet on President’s Climate Data Initiative

+ What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change

Via CBS News

Related: Obama Blames Global Warming for California Drought, Pledges $183 Million in Aid

Lead image via NOAA