Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force: Recommended Actions in Support of a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
On October 14, 2010, the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released its interagency report outlining recommendations to President Obama for how Federal Agency policies and programs can better prepare the United States to respond to the impacts of climate change. The report recommends that the Federal Government implement actions to expand and strengthen the Nation’s capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to climate change. These recommended actions include:
- Make adaptation a standard part of Agency planning to ensure that resources are invested wisely and services and operations remain effective in a changing climate.
- Ensure scientific information about the impacts of climate change is easily accessible so public and private sector decision-makers can build adaptive capacity into their plans and activities.
- Align Federal efforts to respond to climate impacts that cut across jurisdictions and missions, such as those that threaten water resources, public health, oceans and coasts, and communities.
- Develop a U.S. strategy to support international adaptation that leverages resources across the Federal Governmentto help developing countries reduce their vulnerability to climate change through programs that are consistent with the core principles and objectives of the President’s new Global Development Policy.
- Build strong partnerships to support local, state, and tribal decision makers in improving management of places and infrastructure most likely to be affected by climate change.
The Task Force’s work has been guided by a strategic vision of a resilient, healthy, and prosperous Nation in the face of a changing climate. To achieve this vision, the Task Force identified a set of guiding principles that public and private decision-makers should consider in designing and implementing adaptation strategies. They include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Adopt Integrated Approaches: Adaptation should be incorporated into core policies, planning, practices, and programs whenever possible.
- Prioritize the Most Vulnerable: Adaptation strategies should help people, places, and infrastructure that are most vulnerable to climate impacts and be designed and implemented with meaningful involvement from all parts of society.
- Use Best-Available Science: Adaptation should be grounded in the best-available scientific understanding of climate change risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities.
- Apply Risk-Management Methods and Tools: Adaptation planning should incorporate risk-management methods and tools to help identify, assess, and prioritize options to reduce vulnerability to potential environmental, social, and economic implications of climate change.
- Apply Ecosystem-based Approaches: Adaptation should, where appropriate, take into account strategies to increase ecosystem resilience and protect critical ecosystem services on which humans depend, to reduce vulnerability of human and natural systems to climate change.
The Task Force will continue to meet over the next year as an interagency forum for discussing the Federal Government’s adaptation approach and to support and monitor the implementation of recommended actions in the Progress Report. It will prepare another report in October 2011 that documents progress toward implementing its recommendations and provides additional recommendations for refining the Federal approach to adaptation, as appropriate.