Thursday, 9 February 2017

EPA: Climate Change Adaptation


I have been uploading pre-Trump page downloads from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website dealing with climate change, as a back-up for my own reference and potentially for others, before they are deleted or rewritten by climate change deniers. 
The EPA is under serious threat. Yesterday, for example, a report emerged confirming that the Trump Administration is looking to close the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA), the law enforcement arm of the EPA, and shift the work to individual programme offices (e.g. water, air), which would certainly lead to a less efficient enforcement of environmental regulations. This would suit corporations who regard environmental regulations as impeding to their activities (e.g. fracking companies). The OECA currently handles the core environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
To sustain one of the most anti-science crusades in recent times, the Trump team know that education is key. It is no surprise therefore that the Trump Administration has installed the spectacularly unqualified billionaire Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. Mrs DeVos has donated around $200 million to the Republican Party over the years. Based on her known views, it is likely she will seek to remove any mention of climate change from teaching programmes, and seek to have so-called 'intelligent design' (a form of creationism) taught instead of evolution (the cornerstone of modern biology). 
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Adapting to Climate Change

Key Federal Resources




·         National Climate Assessment

·         Climate.gov

·         U.S. Climate Data Portal


"Adaptation" refers to the adjustments that societies or ecosystems make to limit the negative effects of climate change or to take advantage of opportunities provided by a changing climate. Adaptation can range from a farmer planting more drought-resistant crops to a coastal community evaluating how best to protect its infrastructure from rising sea level.

Climate change is already impacting societies and ecosystems around the world, and many impacts are expected to increase as global temperatures continue to rise. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, a certain amount of global warming is inevitable, due to the long-lasting nature of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, and to heat already stored in the oceans. Adapting to the changes that are already underway, and preparing for future climate change, can help reduce the risks societies will face from climate change.

Adaptation Overview

Many governments and organizations across the United States and the world are already adapting to climate change. This is important because we are already seeing the impacts of climate change – including sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and more frequent incidences of heat waves and other extreme weather events. Many impacts are expected to grow in geographic scale, rate, or intensity as global temperatures continue to increase.

Individuals, organizations, and communities can take many steps to adapt to a changing climate – and to help plants and animals cope as well.

Adaptation actions can be:

·         Reactive: responding to conditions that have already changed.

·         Anticipatory: planning for climate change before impacts have occurred. 

Examples of Adaptation

Adaptation measures are already in place in many areas, as the examples below show. These actions can be expanded or modified to prepare for climate change. But additional measures, such as new technologies and policies, may also be needed. Such actions could require time and resources to carry out, so planning now is important.

Agriculture and Food Supply

·         Develop crop varieties that are more tolerant of heat, drought, or flooding from heavy rains.

·         Provide more shade and air flow in barns to protect livestock from higher summer temperatures.

Coasts

·         Preserve wetlands and open spaces to protect coastal communities from flooding and erosion from storms and sea level rise.

·         Improve evacuation planning for low-lying areas to prepare for increased storm surge and flooding.

Ecosystems

·         Protect and expand wildlife habitats to allow species to migrate as the climate changes.

·         Reduce pollution, habitat loss, and other stressors that make ecosystems more vulnerable to climate change.

Energy

·         Increase energy efficiency to help offset rises in energy consumption, such as from more air conditioning use as temperatures warm.

·         Strengthen energy production facilities to withstand increased flood, wind, lightning, and other storm-related stresses.

Human Health

·         Set up early warning systems and emergency response plans to prepare for more extreme weather events.

·         Educate people to help them avoid diseases that could become more prevalent as the climate changes, such as those carried by mosquitoes or ticks.

·         Plant trees and expand green spaces in cities to reduce the "urban heat island" effect.

The term "heat island" describes built up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C). Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.

Water Resources

·         Improve water use efficiency, and build additional water storage capacity.

·         Protect and restore stream and river banks to provide wildlife habitat and safeguard water resources.

EPA Adaptation Planning

Climate change is already affecting communities, livelihoods, and environments. In response, many federal agencies are taking action to help Americans adapt to current and future risks. EPA is facilitating climate change adaptation efforts in the United States and abroad through:


EPA is integrating climate adaptation planning into its programs, policies, rules, and operations to continue fulfilling its mission of protecting human health and the environment, even as the climate changes. EPA’s efforts complement initiatives throughout the entire federal government to promote climate adaptation planning.

  • EPA's Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation sets out several actions to guide EPA in building on the progress it has already made to promote climate resilience and adaptation.
  • EPA's Climate Change Adaptation Plan identifies ways in which climate change could affect EPA's ability to fulfill its mission.
  • EPA Program and Regional Office Plans detail how each office will integrate climate adaptation into its planning and work.

EPA Program Office Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans:


EPA Regional Office Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans:


EPA Adaptation Collaboration

EPA works with federal, state, tribal, local, and international partners to respond to a changing climate.

Federal Agency Activities

Federal agencies have taken important steps to lead the nation in preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change. These activities are coordinated by the U.S. Global Research Program (USGCRP).  Through interagency partnerships and collaborations with leading experts, the USGCRP works to advance the science on climate change and its impacts on society, now and in the future. USGCRP convenes federal agencies and resources to focus on adaptation science and effective actions to address global change at the local, regional, and national levels. ​

States, Local Government, and Tribal Initiatives

Governments at the state, local, and tribal levels are taking important steps to prepare now for the impacts of climate change. Some of their activities are supported by EPA. 


International Efforts

Countries around the world are beginning to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate. Some of their efforts are supported by:

  • EPA's Role in International Climate Adaptation is to facilitate information-sharing on climate adaptation with communities and city planners in the developing world, which is particularly vulnerable to climate change.
  • 100 Resilient Cities helps cities around the world become more resilient when faced with physical, social, and economic challenges associated with climate change.

Climate Adaptation Resources and Guidance

Many resources are available to help public officials and community members with climate change adaptation planning.

Planning and Preparedness


Transportation and Infrastructure


Sustainability


Water Utilities

  • Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) provides drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities with the practical tools, training, and tecnical assistance needed to increase resilience to extreme weather events. Through a comprehensive planning process, CRWU assists water sector utilities by promoting a clear understanding of potential long-term adaptation options. 
  • The Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning provides a framework for considering climate change in water management planning.

Stormwater, Runoff, and Flooding


Coasts and Estuaries

  • The Climate Ready Estuaries program assesses climate change vulnerabilities, develops and implements adaptation strategies, and engages and educates stakeholders.
  • The Sea Level Rise Viewer simulates various sea level rise scenarios and the corresponding areas that would be impacted by flooding.
  • The Storm Surge Inundation and Hurricane Strike Frequency Map illustrates current worst-case coastal storm surge or inundation scenarios and hurricane strike frequency derived from NOAA’s Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) models.
  • The Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching provides coral reef managers with new management strategies for responding to the threat of bleaching as water temperatures rise.

Land Use


Public Health



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