Abstract: The immediate challenge of the COVID 19 pandemic and the longer-term effects of climate change require coordinated efforts by international scientific and engineering communities to provide accurate information to government officials. This information can guide them to put in place evidenced-based policies to mitigate and adapt to these major challenges. Optics and photonics technologies underlie many of the vital measurement platforms which are important tools for developing these essential strategies. I will review international research initiatives responding to COVID 19 and climate change led by teams at UC Berkeley and Stanford. These global programs, sponsored in part by Optica, formerly the Optical Society (OSA), and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) involve coordinating the activities of international teams of government and NGO officials, local community organizations, clinicians, engineers, and scientists.