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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Climate Impacts in the United States

After almost a year in draft stages, the US Global Change Research Program has released the final version of the report, Global Change Impacts in the United States. This, when combined with various other such reports released through different government channels in recent months(including the Climate Change Science Program's Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States and the Congressional Budget Office's
Potential Impacts of Climate Change in the United States), means there is now a glut of material on climate change impacts for a nation where, for many years, such discussion was taboo. Things have certainly changed in Washington, and one can't help but notice that the rebranding performed by Bush II for the nation's climate change research efforts (the "U.S. Climate Change Science Program") has been dumped in favour of the original program name developed under Bush I (the "U.S. Global Change Research Program").

Unlike the CCSP's scientific assessment report, which largely steered clear of management and policy questions, the USGCRP's report devotes considerable print to adaptation - from definitions, to adaptation options across sectors, to specific case studies of adaptation in practice. So now it appears that U.S. federal agencies are back in the business of turning science into action. Welcome back USGRCP, but as Roger Pielke Jr. has commented in his blog post regarding the report, the organisation has some decisions to make about whether it is in the business of climate science or climate policy advocacy.

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