April 30, 2010
Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146
Pew Center on Global Climate Change Calls For Federal Leadership on Climate Adaptation
New Report Recommends Creating a National Adaptation Program
Washington, D.C. – While we urge Congress to pass strong legislation that limits carbon pollution and grows the clean energy economy, the impacts of climate change cannot be ignored. Even ambitious greenhouse gas reduction programs will not prevent unavoidable climate impacts, such as more intense Midwestern heat waves, Western wildfires, and coastal threats from rising sea levels. To avoid the most costly impacts, these growing challenges demand federal leadership.
As the nation’s largest landowner and guardian over the nation’s natural resources, the federal government has a critical role to play in leading efforts to adapt to climate change. To inform the best path forward for U.S. climate adaptation, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change today issued a report that calls for creating a National Adaptation Program. The report, Adapting to Climate Change: A Call for Federal Leadership, recommends that a federal adaptation program include three main components:
- An Adaptation Strategic Planning Initiative to provide overarching program goals, objectives, and priorities;
- A National Climate Service to provide stakeholders (including state and local governments and private sector entities) with much-needed information on climate impacts and adaptation options; and
- An Adaptation Research Program to ensure that adaptation research receives appropriate emphasis as part of the larger federal climate research effort.
“There is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “This report actually offers the federal government concrete recommendations for adaptation preparedness. By putting in place today the appropriate infrastructure, we will be far better equipped to limit future damages and their associated costs.”
While recognizing the critical importance of local, state, and international adaptation efforts, this report focuses on the federal government’s role in implementing an effective, coordinated U.S. adaptation approach. The federal government’s role is significant for several key reasons, including: federally-owned land and infrastructure are at risk; federal guidelines, standards, and regulations influence virtually all sectors of the economy; and federal technical support is critical for addressing climate impacts. The report calls for “mainstreaming” climate change adaptation within and across the federal government.
“Adaptation is no longer an option, it is a necessity,” said Claussen. “Coordination at the federal level is critical to reduce the vulnerability and strengthen the resiliency of our economy and natural resources in the face of our changing climate.”
The report was supported by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. It was authored by Joel B. Smith and Jason M. Vogel of Stratus Consulting, Terri L. Cruce, and Steve Seidel and Heather A. Holsinger of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
The report can be accessed online at http://www.c2es.org/publications/report/adapting-to-climate-change-call-for-federal-leadership. For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center, visit www.c2es.org.
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The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.