Adapting to Climate Change: A Call for Federal Leadership

This report highlights the important role of the federal government in reducing the vulnerability and strengthening the resiliency of our economy and natural resources in the face of these changes. In addition to managing a significant amount of land and infrastructure that will be affected by climate change, the federal government is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary leadership, guidance, information, and resources. While many efforts to adapt to climate change will occur at the state and local level, the federal government is a critical player in an effective and coordinated approach to climate change adaptation in the United States.

Drawing on the expertise of local, state, federal, and international leaders in this area, the authors provide concrete proposals for “mainstreaming” climate change adaptation within and across the federal government. They recommend three key components to create a new national adaptation program in the United States:

  • A Strategic Planning Initiative to provide the overarching goals, objectives, and priorities for the program.
  • A National Climate Service to provide stakeholders with much needed information on climate change impacts and adaptation options.
  • An Adaptation Research Program to ensure that appropriate emphasis is placed on adaptation research as part of the larger federal climate research effort.