Press Release: Pew Center Convenes Federal Agency Dialogue on Climate Adaptation

Press Release
July 28, 2010
Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

Pew Center on Global Climate Change Convenes Federal Agency Dialogue
Workshop Finds Leadership Key to Climate Adaptation Response

Washington, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change convened a high-level dialogue yesterday with representatives of 12 federal departments and agencies to discuss strategies and challenges for mainstreaming climate adaptation activities within and across the federal government. The workshop facilitated a frank exchange of ideas and experiences and highlighted the initial steps being taken to advance federal leadership in climate adaptation. 

“The broad risks from climate change to our economy, infrastructure, and natural environment demand an effective and coordinated federal response,” said Pew Center Vice President for Policy Analysis Steve Seidel. “The federal government is uniquely situated to lead this response. This workshop facilitated the sharing of insights and pragmatic steps being taken by federal agencies in adapting their programs to a changing climate.”

The workshop builds on a recent Pew Center report that 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 climate change. In addition to managing a significant amount of land and infrastructure that will be affected by climate change, the federal government is well positioned to provide the necessary leadership, guidance, information, and resources to respond.

The workshop began with speakers from four federal departments – Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Homeland Security – in an opening panel discussion of department-wide climate adaptation initiatives. Two additional panels focused on adaptation efforts that involved eight agencies across the federal government. 

Workshop participants stressed the importance of leadership within and across federal agencies to successfully integrate – or “mainstream” – adaptation efforts within their programs and the important role that the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force has played in spurring action.  

Several speakers talked about the need to break through the traditional “stovepipe” structure that often limits collaboration both within and across departments.

Speakers also called attention to the importance of engaging constituencies at the regional, state, and local levels to inform, educate, and build public trust around the country’s adaptation needs. They emphasized that the federal government can help facilitate the bringing together of resources and deploying them on the ground in effective, strategic ways.

The workshop sent a clear and encouraging message that federal agencies are making significant strides to advance adaptation efforts.

In addition to the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Homeland Security, the federal Agencies represented at the workshop included: Army Corps of Engineers; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water; Federal Highway Administration; Fish & Wildlife Service; Forest Service; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Navy.

The workshop was supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. About 100 people, many from federal agencies and NGOs, attended the forum, which took place at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center, visit

Workshop Agenda
Federal Government Leadership:
Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The Newseum, Washington, DC

Panel 1: Department-wide Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives

  • Moderated by Kathy Jacobs, Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Bill Hohenstein, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Paul Schimpf, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Dave Kaufman, U.S. Department of Homeland Security 
  • Tom Armstrong, U.S. Department of the Interior

Panel 2: Agency Climate Change Adaptation Activities

  • Moderated by Steve Seidel, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
  • George Luber, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
  • Michael Culp, U.S. Federal Highway Administration 
  • Margaret Davidson, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
  • Jennie Dean, U.S. Navy

Panel 3: Agency Climate Change Adaptation Activities (continued)

  • Moderated by Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Jeff Arnold, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Karen Metchis, U.S. EPA Office of Water 
  • Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Dave Cleaves, U.S. Forest Service

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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.