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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Adaptation Policy Emerges in the United States

After many years of languishing in the policy backwaters, adaptation is beginning to catch-on in the United States. As discussed by Lauren Morello and Sara Goodman in, adaptation is now a common feature of legislative proposals being introduced in Congress. The latest draft bill, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, from Congressmen Henry A. Waxman and Edward J. Markey, includes an entire subtitle (subtitle E) on climate adaptation (but it does come dead last among the various other titles). The subtitle includes a broad range of actvities indlucding the following,

NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION PROGRAM — The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of NOAA, shall establish within NOAA a National Climate Change Adaptation Program for the purpose of increasing the overall effectiveness of Federal climate change adaptation efforts. Under the Program, the Administrator of NOAA shall, in consultation as appropriate with the Council— (1) develop and publish periodic National Assessments under section 464; (2) provide to Federal agencies, local, State, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental stakeholders policy-relevant scientific information, research products, decision tools, and technical support related to climate change impacts and adaptation to such impacts, as provided in section 465; and (3) advise Federal agencies on issues related to climate change impacts and adaptation to such impacts, including through the provision of technical support to Federal agencies in the development of agency climate change adaptation plans as required under section 466.

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION SERVICES — The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of NOAA, shall establish within NOAA a National Climate Service to serve as a clearinghouse to provide State, local, and tribal government decisionmakers with access to regionally and nationally relevant information, data, forecasts, andservices relating to climate change impacts and adaptation to such impacts. The National Climate Service shall— (1) develop and provide access to policy-relevant climate information products, databases, decision tools, and services for Federal, State, local, and tribal government decisionmakers and policymakers; (2) provide technical assistance to Federal, State, local, and tribal government efforts to assess vulnerability to climate change impacts and develop appropriate strategies and plans to reduce such vulnerability; (3) facilitate communication and coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal stakeholders with regard to climate change information and adaptation strategies; and (4) undertake education and outreach initiatives related to climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, and the application of climate information in decisionmaking.

FEDERAL AGENCY CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION PLANS —Within 1 year after the date of publication of each National Assessment, each Federal agency with representation on the Council shall— (A) complete an agency climate change adaptation plan detailing the agency’s current and projected efforts to address the potential impacts of climate change on matters within the agency’s jurisdiction; and(B) submit such agency climate change adaptation plan to the President for review.

FEDERAL FUNDING FOR STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL ADAPTATION PROJECTS - Not later than2 January 1, 2013, the President shall — (1) directly, or through such Federal agency or agencies as the President may designate, promulgate regulations establishing an integrated program to use funds in the National Climate Change Adaptation Fund to provide financial assistance to State, local, and tribal governments, individually or jointly, for implementation of projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts; and (2) submit such regulations to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and other committees of relevant jurisdiction in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

NATIONAL POLICY ON PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE —to assist the efforts of public health professionals, first responders, States, tribes, municipalities, and local communities to incorporate measures to adapt health systems to address impacts of climate change; (2) to encourage further research, interdisciplinary partnership, and collaboration between stakeholders to understand and monitor the health impacts of climate change, for preparedness activities, and for improvement of health care infrastructure; and (3) to encourage each and every American to learn about the impact of climate change on health

NATURAL RESOURCES CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION POLICY — It is the policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, tribal organizations, and other interested stakeholders to use all practicable means and measures to assist natural resources to become more resilient and adapt to and withstand the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Our group, Climate Science Watch, a program of the Government Accountability Project, has also summarized and commented on Subtitle E of the Waxman-Markey discussion draft.



While the bill contains some of the most well thought-out provisions for raising US preparedness for climate impacts we've seen thus far, we have deep concerns about the proposed management structure. A strong coordination function within the White House is needed to bring all of the various agencies together with state/local gov'ts and other stakeholders, a function that is not yet occurring. Placing NOAA as chair of the adaptation council repeats mistakes we made in 1979 under the National Climate Program Act, mistakes that were largely remedied in 1990 with passage of the Global Change Research Act. The bill does not adequately acknowledge the US Global Change Research Program ( and its current potential (and legal mandate) to carry out impacts assessments. Comments on our views can be sent to NCCPI.mail at ~Anne Polansky, Climate Science Watch