Oregon’s Framework to Adapt to Rapid Climate Change
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In 2004, Oregon’s Governor established the Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming; in 2006, the group was restructured into the Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG). CCIG was tasked with helping Oregon incorporate and prepare for the effects that anthropogenic climate change may have within Oregon. As part of this process, CCIG released A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change. This report outlines basic principles that could be applied to all avenues of government and decision-making and, if implemented, would help Oregon prepare for and adapt to climate change.
In 2006, Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed the Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG) as the successor to the Governor’s Advisory Group on Global Warming, which had been established in 2004. CCIG was charged to create a preparation and adaptation strategy for Oregon that built off of the work of its predecessor. CCIG proceeded to publish multiple reports that advocated for a transformation of Oregon’s planning process so that it considers climate change as a key element, recognizes that multiple systems are interconnected, and requires a dynamic and iterative planning process. Since its inception, CCIG has worked on four key areas:
- Addressing goals and recommendations outlined in the 2004 report, Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions;
- Preparing recommendations to make the state of Oregon more resilient to the effects of climate change;
- Promoting new research programs in collaboration with the Oregon University system on mitigation and adaptation strategies; and
- Acting as an educational resource for interested citizens and industry.
In 2008, CCIG released the report, A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change. The report was developed at the request of the Governor to develop a framework for Oregon to begin making decisions in light of climate change. In sum, CCIG produced ten key recommendations that would aid Oregon’s climate change adaptation process; they included:
- Begin preparing for climate change immediately;
- Expand and enhance mitigation efforts to reduce Oregon’s greenhouse gas footprint;
- Continue to research how climate change will affect Oregon’s populace and natural resources;
- Support institutional learning about climate change and create a forum for individuals to attain actionable information to help them understand their opportunities for mitigation and adaptation;
- Implement a coordinated education and outreach program;
- Consider the effects of climate change as part of any government planning process;
- Promote climate change adaptation as an economic development opportunity;
- Integrate the public health impacts of climate change into decision making;
- Support climate change research; and
- Provide funding for key action areas/programs.
CCIG identified multiple issues and challenges when working in the climate change adaptation arena. In general, the public does not understand the scientific basis behind climate change and it has not been incorporated into many public institutions. Without this comprehension, it makes it increasingly difficult to pass climate-related legislation. Few groups have undertaken a vulnerability assessment making it difficult to prepare an adequate adaptation plan. Finally they found that climate change related research is underfunded relative to its import, particularly in regards to the public health sector.
CCIG developed recommendations to help shape and update the earlier recommendations outlined by the Global Warming Commission. Notable suggestions included prioritizing prevention efforts over reactionary projects, incorporating climate change planning into all state and local agencies programs and policies, linking the economic, natural, and climatic aspects of climate change, and coordinating research agendas across the state and region.
Outcomes and Conclusions
In 2004, the Global Warming Commission presented the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions. It provided an agenda of mitigation actions for the state and its residents to do in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; most of the recommendations were not implemented. The 2008 report tabulates Oregon’s mitigation efforts relative to the 2004 suggested actions. It then goes into detail about mitigation projects and future recommended actions.
Feifel, K. (2010). Oregon's Framework to Adapt to Rapid Climate Change [Case study on a project of the Oregon Department of Energy]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/oregon’s-framework-adapt-rapid-clima... (Last updated November 2010)