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PCAST Releases New Climate Report

Summary: 
Today PCAST released a letter to the President describing key components the advisory group believes should be central to the Administration’s strategy for addressing climate change, including a dual focus on mitigation—reducing the pace and magnitude of climate-related changes, and adaptation—minimizing the unavoidable damage that can be expected to result from climate change.

Today the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a letter to the President describing six key components the advisory group believes should be central to the Administration’s strategy for addressing climate change.

The 9-page “letter report” responds to a November request from the President for advice as the Administration prepares new initiatives to tackle the challenges posed by Earth’s changing climate. The letter calls for a dual focus on mitigation—reducing the pace and magnitude of climate-related changes—and adaptation—minimizing the unavoidable damage that can be expected to result from climate change.

“Both approaches are essential parts of an integrated strategy for dealing with climate change,” the letter states. “Mitigation is needed to avoid a degree of climate change that would be unmanageable despite efforts to adapt.  Adaptation is needed because the climate is already changing and some further change is inevitable regardless of what is done to reduce its pace and magnitude.”

The six key components are:

  • Focus on national preparedness for climate change, which can help decrease damage from extreme weather events now and speed recovery from future damage;
  • Continue efforts to decarbonize the economy, with emphasis on the electricity sector;
  • Level the playing field for clean-energy and energy-efficiency technologies by removing regulatory obstacles, addressing market failures, adjusting tax policies, and providing time-limited subsidies for clean energy when appropriate;
  • Sustain research on next-generation clean-energy technologies and remove obstacles for their eventual deployment;
  • Take additional steps to establish U.S. leadership on climate change internationally; and
  • Conduct an initial Quadrennial Energy Review.

To see the full letter report, please click here.

To learn about PCAST, please click here.

Rick Weiss is Assistant Director for Strategic Communications and Senior Policy Analyst at OSTP