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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adaptation in Kerry-Lieberman

U.S. Senators Kerry and Lieberman have finally unveiled their long-awaited comprehensive legislation to address climate change. The American Power Act (APA) treads over familiar territory as its predecessors: ambitious mid-century targets, market-based mechanisms, investments in renewable energy and carbon sequestration technology, enhanced domestic oil and gas production, and a host of tax credits to make it all go down a little easier. Naturally, the rhetoric from the Senators is full of references to 'green jobs' and 'national security.' Nevertheless, there is no shortage of pundits betting that this piece of legislation is dead on arrival.

On the adaptation front, the legislation focuses on natural resources. Title VI (Community Protection from Global Warming Impacts) includes a range of strategies to facilitate adaptation in natural resource sectors including mandatory federal agency and state-based adaptation plans, reinvestment of emissions allowance revenue in adaptation projects, science and monitoring, and the conservation of wildlife migration corridors. When it comes to the many other sectors that might be affected by climate change, the legislation simply indicates that the EPA Administrator may establish other adaptation programs for thing such as water resources management, fire protection, and coastal watersheds (all of which also have direct implications for conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, but maybe those links have been overlooked). Interestingly, nothing is said about adaptation of the energy sector - a bit strange given this is, after all, an energy bill. Title V (International Climate Change Programs) also includes an international climate change adaptation and global security program to help facilitate adaptation in vulnerable developing nations.

As usual, the Pew Center has links to the legislation.

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