Synthesis Comments MTNCLIM 2005, Chico Hot Springs March 4, 2005 Dennis Machida

Synthesis Comments
MTNCLIM 2005, Chico Hot Springs
March 4, 2005
Dennis Machida
Note: this text is transcribed directly from notes found in Dennis’s notebook after his
death. He delivered these comments without referring to his notes.
Introduction—Thank you
a. I would also like to thank the sponsors of the event—join the chorus. It
was good to see you Connie—8 years since SNEP. Greg. And, thank you
Lisa. I might way I had a wonderful time.
b. I must say I feel a little like a stranger in a strange land. I probably
understood less that Tony Prato—50%.
i. I figured ‘precip’ pretty quick. It took a few hours to figure out
that SNOTEL was not a cell phone company. I never did figure
out PDO.
c. Nevertheless I did have some impressions.
i. The science of climate change is growing more refined and covers
more disciplines—that’s good.
ii. It will take time to understand and to figure in our environment
what to do.
iii. I also feel that change is coming—whether gradual or dramatic.
1. As change comes, so there will be changes in our society
and communities, in our economy and in our laws and
2. There will also be changes in our institutes—there will be
changes in what priorities are—even in what we are
currently doing research on even though it would appear to
be relevant to the topic.
a. Can not assume that we have state institutional
d. In response to these impressions, I think it is important to come clean with
some of my own prism, which is imbedded or underlies my comments.
i. I am an attorney, so…
ii. I am also a decision maker—so you have to make it simple for me.
iii. Resource agencies are facing incredible challenges with limited
resources. That raises many issues (in terms of capacity to deal
with issues) are also institutional issues.
1. Need to assess our institutional capabilities.
2. Look at ways of modifying our institutions or creating new
institutions to fill gaps
3. There is also a need to look at adaptability of our
institutions and the way we do business.
4. Best achieved if strategic. To achieve what I call vertical
and horizontal alignment
a. Vertical means traditional, hierarchical alignments.
In my case, the Governor, Legislature, Cabinet.
i. But it also means alignment between policy,
science and implementation
b. Horizontal alignment—this is more difficult.
i. This is alignment between federal, state and
local government.
ii. This is also alignment with the private
sector, businesses, farmers, ranchers,
environmental groups, non-profit
5. In order to achieve these alignments, there is a need to look
at how these entities (levels) are participating in our
decision making about research, about planning and
implementation—the central question of who owns the
problem and the solution.
Given all of this, I would like to share some observations with you—
uninformed or superficial as they may be—within the context of
a. There needs to be a policy framework for dealing with the effects or
impacts of climate change in a comprehensive or integrated way—
especially in the mitigation side of the equation.
i. A home for your findings, go through your agency or through
papers, then assume someone will know what to do with them.
ii. Realize that international and national policy is to say at the least
non-aligned. However there are opportunities to work at state,
regional or local levels.
iii. It would be helpful if the science community joined a call or
prepared to participate in such policy level discussion.
1. I realize that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about
impacts. Consequently, the focus is to establish a
framework for discussion, not a prescription.
2. In order to further the policy discussion, it would be helpful
to look for situations in which the policy discussion takes
place in a context.
a. Authorized by law.
b. Where there is responsibility assigned by an
entity—even a newly created entity
c. And there is accountability. Prepare a report.
3. This can be done at different scales in different contexts.
Where ARA [Authorization, Responsibility, and
Accountability] exist
a. Environmental review processes—cum relative
b. Most fruitful will be participate in various mandated
planning processes.
i. Water planning
ii. Transportation planning
iii. Fuel reduction efforts
4. I think this policy framework should be broader than
climate change but a comprehensive look at deal with
challenges in resource management in general
a. Time frames are long---need to deal with
intervening drivers which make climate related
changes moot.
5. Important because decision makers may not be prepared to
deal with implementation of your findings.
b. More research and monitoring efforts need to be institutionalized
i. Science looking for a program
1. Multi-disciplinary, multi-and funding is key.
ii. There are several dimensions
1. A comprehensive and integrated plan would be helpful to
decision makers. The plan needs these elements
a. Scope of research activities which can be directly
tied to a polity, legal requirement or investment
b. Allocation of responsibility
c. Costs
2. I am not naïve. This is very difficult and complex—but it
would advance the overall effort.
3. It would be helpful to provide emphasis on exploring the
management implications of the research—in general and
for meetings—need to provide a forum for multijurisdictional managers.
a. Need to begin discussion on options
b. Keep in mind a couple things
i. Broad strategic initiatives will take 10-20
years to put in place (seek authority, develop
plans, seek funds, test technology)
ii. Also it is important to have implementation
issues inform policy makers
iii. It would be helpful to investigate the use of
bioregional assessments with socioeconomic considerations a key community
1. Multi-disciplinary
2. Keep develop a sense of place
3. Might be a useful precursor to a
policy level decision
4. We need to rethink who participates and how decisions are
made at policy research and implementation
a. I don’t believe our normal planning---NEPA or
CEQA driven processes will ultimately be adequate
to build support or understanding
b. Where appropriate, we need to involve the public
and stakeholders in our planning and decision
making, implementation activities
i. This usually makes people uneasy
ii. Limits our prerogatives
iii. Requires a different skill set
iv. Opens us up for criticism
c. But these are key to seeking alignment
5. Finally, a comment about your organization
a. Certainly, I support your objectives and it can play a
positive role
b. However, I would encourage you to prepare a
strategic plan
i. As part of this process, survey the potential
customer of what they need and what form
they would like it as you move forward
ii. It may lead to more formalization of your
organization to actually raise the funds
I think my time has run out. I hope this is some food for thought.