Investigating Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean
I was offered this job in Columbia University and the job consisted of establishing a regional program in Latin America and the Caribbean for the IRI (International Research Institute), Climate and Society. Of course, to me, it was almost like a dream. I always wanted to work in that region, Latin America and the Caribbean.
After 15 years of working in the general climate area and interactions with agriculture and food production, this was a perfect place to come. The interesting thing is that since the moment we started working with this NASA project and climate change and food production until I was hired by Columbia University, I started to look at the climate interaction, climate change with food production in a different way, a less traditional way. Basically, what I started understanding is, again, if you want to help policy makers, if you want to help farmers to do something about climate change, the information they need is not what climate may look like in 28 years from now, they’re worried what’s happening today. What can they do? What type of knowledge can we provide to these people so they can do something today?
IRI was the perfect place for that. IRI is concentrating on what we can do with today’s climate. What is happening in the next few months? How can we use that information to have better agriculture production systems, less problems of food security? This was an ideal place for me, working the region that I love, working the region that I also know best. Looking at climate change and climate risk but from a very practical, pragmatic approach. Really helping farmers, on the one end, or policy makers, ministries, presidents of different countries, on the other hand.