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The Nation Hurricane Center in Miami. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Richard W. Spinrad is the first Senate-confirmed administrator of NOAA in five years, which has its advantages in Washington.

What they're saying: “That immediately gets doors open and gets me access,” Spinrad told Axios in an interview following an interagency climate and equity roundtable in Detroit on Tuesday.

What's happening: Spinrad, who previously served as the agency's chief scientist, said he's been quietly working to raise his agency's profile in the Biden administration, which has an all-hands-on-deck approach to climate change and other topics of interest to the agency.

  • “I have had in the last three months close to 30 meaningful meetings with the heads of probably 20 different agencies,” he said.
  • “You may not be seeing that immediately in the public eye. But we are positioning NOAA for a much, much more visible and influential role in the federal government.”

Context: Spinrad is also organizing multiple offices within his agency that touch on climate to form a NOAA Climate Council.

  • The goal is to avoid information getting stove-piped within the National Ocean Service, Office of Atmospheric and Oceanic Research and other entities, each of which has its own functions and subcultures.

The intrigue: NOAA is just one of at least 13 federal agencies dealing with climate science from NASA to the Energy Department.

  • Spinrad said since he took the helm in June, he’s become convinced that the federal government should determine which agency has the lead role in providing certain types of climate information.
  • “Our nation needs some clarity on who's got the con, who is responsible, who is that authoritative source for climate information?” he said.

Go deeper: NOAA sailed a drone into the strongest storm on Earth

Go deeper

Updated Jan 15, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Earth's climate went off the rails in 2021, reports show

Temperature departures from average in degrees Celsius during 2021. (Berkeley Earth).

Global warming became local to a new and devastating extent in 2021, with the year ranking as the sixth-warmest on record, according to new, independent data from NASA, NOAA and Berkeley Earth.

Why it matters: Each year's data adds to the relentless long-term trend, which shows rapid warming due overwhelmingly to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions during the past several decades in particular.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 14, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Biden's latest Fed pick signals brewing climate battles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's plan to tap Sarah Bloom Raskin as top banking regulator at the Federal Reserve could intensify the central bank's already growing focus on climate change.

Catch up fast: The news broke Thursday night that Biden will nominate Raskin, a Duke University law professor, for the powerful role of vice chair for supervision.

Biden names Sarah Bloom Raskin as Fed's top banking regulator

Sarah Bloom Raskin during a Fed meeting in 2013. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin as the Federal Reserve's top Wall Street cop, a Biden administration official said, one of three nominees being unveiled for the critical open seats on the central bank's board of governors.

Why it matters: It's Biden's biggest mark yet on the influential economic body that's center stage as the country grapples with inflation rising at the fastest pace in decades and a recovering labor market.