Evolving Components to Support a National Adaptation Strategy
The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force continues to work on helping align Federal Government climate change adaptation planning efforts in order to insure a coordinated and comprehensive response to the impacts of climate change on public health, communities, oceans, wildlife, and water resources.
National Action Plan for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate
The Task Force's October 2010 Progress Report identified freshwater resources as a priority for greater attention. On October 28, 2011, CEQ announced the final Action Plan that responds to public input.
This plan is designed to provide an overview of the challenges that a changing climate presents for the management of the Nation's freshwater resources, describe actions that Federal agencies propose to take in response to these challenges, and help freshwater resource managers assure adequate water supplies, safeguard water quality and aquatic ecosystems, and protect human life, health and property.
The draft Action Plan was released in June, and was made available for 45 days of public comment.
- Click here to read the final Action Plan
- Click here to read the Highlights of Progress: 2012 -- Report on the Implementation of the National Action Plan
National Ocean Policy: Draft Implementation Plan
As part of President Obama's National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes, in January of 2012 the National Ocean Council released a draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan to address pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The draft Implementation Plan describes more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, which support tens of millions of jobs, contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.
The draft Implementation Plan will ensure the Federal Government targets limited resources effectively to deliver demonstrable results for the American people, including predictability for users, more efficient and coordinated decision-making, and improved sharing of data and technology. It includes a series of actions to address the Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification priority objective, one of nine priority objectives identified by the National Ocean Policy (NOP).
- Click here to read the draft Implementation Plan.
- Click here to read frequently asked questions on the draft Implementation Plan.
- Learn more about the draft Implementation Plan.
National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
Fish, wildlife, and plant resources provide important benefits and services to Americans every day, including jobs, income, food, clean water and air, building materials, storm protection, tourism, and recreation. In 2009, Congress recognized the need for a national government-wide climate adaptation strategy for fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems, asking CEQ and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to develop such a strategy. CEQ and DOI assembled a partnership of Federal, state, and tribal fish and wildlife conservation agencies to develop the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. The partnership is co-led by DOI's Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, representing state fish and wildlife agencies.
Shaped by extensive national dialogue that spanned nearly two years and included comments from more than 55,000 Americans, the final National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy was released in March 2013. The strategy will help public and private decision makers address the impacts that climate change is having on natural resources and the people and economies that depend on them. It provides a roadmap of key steps needed through 2018 to reduce the current and future impacts of climate change on our natural resources, which include: changing species distributions and migration patterns, the spread of wildlife diseases and invasive species, the inundation of coastal habitats with rising sea levels, and changes in freshwater availability with shifting precipitation and habitat types.
- Click here to read the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
- For more information, visit: www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov
Climate Science and Global Change Research
Climate science within a global change framework is the foundation for a U.S. strategy for adaptation, and provides essential inputs for adaptation decisions across the country. The Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 established the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) “to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” The 13 participating Federal agencies have invested significant resources in understanding and modeling the physical science of climate as well as the implications of climate change for human and natural systems. The U.S. investments include observing systems in the oceans, on land, and in the atmosphere; research on climate impacts and vulnerability, and development of information to support decision-making. USGCRP also participates in global efforts to monitor and model circulation patterns in the ocean and atmosphere, as well as land surface-atmosphere interactions.
A U.S. strategy for adaptation will also benefit from a comprehensive National Assessment of climate impacts and response options, required every four years under the GCRA. The National Assessment provides a mechanism for engaging communities at the regional, tribal, state, and local levels to build a shared vision of our nation's most pressing challenges related to climate change. The USGCRP is currently working on a strategy for the next National Assessment, which, in addition to assessing climate change impacts, will also help align USGCRP and related research efforts with the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force's work as it develops recommendations for U.S. strategy for adaptation. The Assessment will identify science needs in understanding current and future climate impacts and regional or sector-related vulnerability to those impacts, supporting adaptation and mitigation decisions, and informing effective translation of science into services and applications.
Selected Adaptation-Related Federal Programs
Agency initiatives will also build adaptive capacity in the United States. There already is substantial U.S. Government activity focused on adapting and building resilience to climate change risks. For example:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supporting local decision-makers through Climate Ready Estuaries and the Climate Ready Water Utilities Working Group.
- The Department of the Interior (DOI) is developing a network of regional Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that will conduct and communicate research and monitoring to improve understanding and forecasting regarding climate change impacts.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program supports interdisciplinary research and innovative outreach activities at local and regional scales.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants encourage integrating adaptation into housing and urban planning.
- The Department of Agriculture worked to incorporate climate change and water issues into existing youth outreach programs.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative to assist city and state health departments in managing health risks exacerbated by climate change.
- The National Park Service collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey to analyze the vulnerability of ecosystems to fire related to climate change
Many other agencies have adaptation-related activities in addition to these examples.
Furthermore, international climate adaptation and resilience is an essential part of the U.S. strategy for adaptation. The United States is committed to supporting adaptation in the most vulnerable countries including least-developed countries, small island developing states, and African states. The United States is also committed to working with our partners around the world to make the Copenhagen Accord operational, which stresses “the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support.” In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) climate change adaptation program seeks to assist U.S. Missions and other development partners through a variety of activities including on-the-ground actions and direct implementation.
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These coordinated activities support the Federal Government's development of a more integrated approach to adaptation in a national adaptation strategy. In the coming months, the Federal Government approach to adaptation will continue to evolve to better integrate activities, ensure coordination and collaboration, and harness the full capabilities of government to ensure that support for adaptation is efficient and effective.