The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced additional steps it is taking to integrate climate change adaptation into USDA's programs and operations. These efforts will help ensure taxpayer resources are invested wisely and that USDA services and operations remain effective under current and future climate conditions.
The effects of climate change are complex and far-reaching and it is clear that potential changes could have important impacts on the ability of USDA to fulfill its core mission. Under the updated USDA Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation (Departmental Regulation 1070-001), USDA recognizes that climate stressors have consequences for food production, yields of staple crops, forests and grasslands, and these, in turn, affect the economic well-being of individuals.
Climate change adaptation is a critical component of climate change and a complement to mitigation planning. Both are required to address the causes, consequences and potential benefits of climate change. USDA is taking a leadership role with climate adaptation planning to safeguard a resilient, healthy and prosperous Nation in the face of changing climate.
Under the changes announced today, USDA will:
- Integrate climate change adaptation planning, implementing actions, and performance metrics into USDA programs, policies and operations to minimize climate risks and exploit new opportunities that climate change may bring;
- Analyze how climate change is likely to affect its ability to achieve its mission, operations and policy and program objectives;
- Identify appropriate key performance measures to evaluate progress in climate change adaptation;
- Participate in adaptation implementation as part of a broader commitment to developing the next generation of regional climate solutions through USDA Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change;
- Incorporate climate-resilient decision-making into international development programs and investments of relevant USDA agencies; and
- Develop and maintain an adaptation plan for managing the challenges and consider potential climate change impacts when undertaking long-term exercise, setting priorities for scientific research and developing performance measures.
Departmental Regulation 1070-001 implements sections of Executive Order 13653 and, where applicable, Executive Order 13677. It is consistent with the 2014-2018 USDA Strategic Plan and with guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality and the Federal Council on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience. The regulation can be found at: www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/adaptation.htm.
For more information on USDA's Climate Change activities, please visit: www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/index.htm. This policy supersedes and replaces Department Regulation 1070-001 June 3, 2011.