4 The record articles

Draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans Issued

Posted: November 12th, 2013

Author: All4 Staff 

The great hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”  When it comes to climate change, this is a piece of advice we can all use.  As a recent college graduate, I am a part of a young generation that has been raised to anticipate the challenges associated with climate change.  I’m fluent in what measures I can take in my personal life to minimize the threat of climate change, and as an ALL4 employee new to environmental consulting, I’m getting acquainted with the ways our country is addressing the threat at a national level, and how the government is adapting to this serious environmental concern.

I recently noted that U.S. EPA’s Program and Regional offices issued draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans (Implementation Plans).  There are 17 draft Implementation Plans in total: 10 for each U.S. EPA Region and seven (7) for each U.S. EPA National Program.  Specifically, the plans apply to the following U.S. EPA programs and offices:

Program Implementation Plans

  • Office of Water
  • Office of Air and Radiation
  • Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
  • Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
  • Office of International and Tribal Affairs
  • Office of Research and Development
  • Office of Administration and Resource Management

Regional Office Implementation Plans

  • Region 1
  • Region 2
  • Region 3
  • Region 4
  • Region 5
  • Region 6
  • Region 7
  • Region 8
  • Region 9
  • Region 10

In order to understand what these draft Implementation Plans are and why they’ve been issued, it’s helpful to understand some greenhouse gas (GHG) history.  Two (2) months before the issuance of the “Endangerment Finding” in December 2009, updated environmental planning was set in motion by President Obama’s issuance of an Executive Order entitled “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” on October 5, 2009.  The goal of this Order was to establish a strategy for the Federal Government to increase sustainability and to make GHG emission reductions a priority for Federal agencies.  The Order also created a Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and a State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.  In March 2011, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued implementing instructions which spelled out the steps Federal Agencies should take to implement the Order.  In response to these documents, U.S. EPA published a draft Agency Climate Change Adaptation Plan (Agency Plan) in February 2013, with the intent to finalize the Agency Plan this fall.  The draft Agency Plan details the following 10 priority actions that U.S. EPA would take to integrate climate adaptation planning into its activities to ensure its effectiveness under future climatic conditions:

  1. Fulfill Strategic Measures in FY 2011–2015 EPA Strategic Plan
  2. Protect Agency facilities and operations
  3. Factor legal considerations into adaptation efforts
  4. Strengthen adaptive capacity of EPA staff and partners through training
  5. Develop decision-support tools that enable EPA staff and partners to integrate climate adaptation planning into their work
  6. Identify cross-EPA science needs related to climate adaptation
  7. Partner with tribes to increase adaptive capacity
  8. Focus on most vulnerable people and places
  9. Measure and evaluate performance
  10. Develop Program and Regional Office Implementation Plans

Then, most recently on November 4, 2013, U.S. EPA issued the aforementioned draft Implementation Plans which detail how the goals U.S. EPA outlined in the February 2013 draft Agency Plan would be carried out by each U.S. EPA program and region.  Public comments on the draft Implementation Plans will be accepted through January 3, 2014. 


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