Thursday, February 07, 2013

EPA To Release "Draft EPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan"

Feb 7: Tomorrow, February 8, U.S. EPA will issue a Federal Register announcement indicating a Notice of Availability for Public Review and Comment: Draft EPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan. According to a prepublication of the announcement:
"Scientific evidence demonstrates that the climate is changing at an increasingly rapid rate, outside the range to which society has adapted in the past. Climate change can pose significant challenges to the EPA's ability to fulfill its mission. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is committed to identifying and responding to the challenges that a changing
climate poses to human health and the environment. It is essential; therefore, that the EPA adapt to climate change in order to continue fulfilling its statutory, regulatory and programmatic requirements, chief among these protection of human health and the environment. Adaptation will involve anticipating and planning for changes in climate and incorporating considerations of climate change into many of the Agency's programs, policies, rules and operations to ensure they are effective under changing climatic conditions. Adaptation also necessitates close coordination between EPA and its many partners and stakeholders.
"EPA and other Federal Agencies and Departments have developed draft Agency Climate Change Adaptation Plans in response to the President's October 2009 Executive Order (E.O. 13514 - 'Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance') and the March, 2011 Implementing Instructions to all Federal Department and Agencies. Today, EPA announces the availability of a public review draft of its Agency Plan. The draft Plan will be available for a 60-day public review. . .
"EPA is working to fulfill its mission to protect human health and the environment. Many of the goals EPA is working to attain (e.g., clean air, safe drinking water) are sensitive to changes in weather and climate. Until now, EPA has been able to assume that climate is relatively stable and future climate would mirror past climate. However, with climate changing at an increasingly rapid rate and outside the range to which society has adapted in the past, climate change is posing new challenges to EPA's ability to fulfill its mission.
"This Plan will help guide the Agency to prepare for future changes in climate and to incorporate considerations of climate change into its mission-driven activities. Climate adaptation planning will help EPA continue to fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment even as the climate changes.
"EPA considers public input to be essential for the development of this Plan. This input will also help the Agency strengthen its partnerships with states, tribes, local communities, and nongovernmental organizations – many of which have already begun to develop and implement adaptation measures."
    As referenced in part above, in 2009, the Obama Administration convened the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, co-chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and including representatives from more than 20 Federal agencies. On October 5, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the Task Force to develop a report with recommendations for how the Federal Government can strengthen policies and programs to better prepare the Nation to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
    On October 28, 2011 the Task Force released the 2011 Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force Progress Report outlining the Federal Government's progress in expanding and strengthening the Nation's capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to extreme events and other climate change impacts. The report provides an update on actions in key areas of Federal adaptation, including: building resilience in local communities, safeguarding critical natural resources such as freshwater, and providing accessible climate information and tools to help decision-makers manage climate risks (the report is available from the link below).
    Access the prepublication copy of the announcement (click here). Access the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force for related information (click here). [#Climate]
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