Monday, June 22, 2015

USDA Updates Departmental Climate Adaptation Policy

Press Release

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.

Friday, May 8, 2015

California leads the adaptation charge, all while reducing GHG emissions

California is again making headlines – but this time, it’s not related (specifically) to the statewide drought. 


Copyright: Sacramento Bee
On April 29, 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued Executive Order B-30-15, which will reinforce and expand upon emissions reductions and climate change adaptation efforts underway across the state of the California. Read the full press release here, and check out these key highlights from the executive order:

Adaptation:

  • Mandated 3-year updates of California’s climate adaptation strategy, Safeguarding California.
  • Mandated implementation of Safeguarding California provisions, including:
    • Vulnerability assessment for key sectors
    • Clear identification and communication of risks associated with vulnerabilities, and priority actions needed to reduce those risks 
    • Identification of a lead agency/group of agencies to head adaptation efforts in each sector. These leaders will prepare implementation plans by September 2015, and report back on actions taken in June 2016.
  • All state agencies will incorporate climate change into planning and investment decisions, with help from a technical advisory group that will be established by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
  • California’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan will incorporate future and current climate impacts into all infrastructure projects.
  • California will continue its climate change research program to improve understanding of climate change impacts and evaluate how best to plan for and adapt to such changes.

Greenhouse gas emissions:
  • Updated emission reduction targets: reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, which will put California on track to reduce emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • All state agencies will implement measures to reduce GHG emissions to meet reductions targets.

EcoAdapt is helping several agencies address climate change in the Sierra Nevada, Southern California forests, and north-central coast

- Whitney

Being Green at the National Adaptation Forum

We're excited to see you all next week in St. Louis, MO for the 2nd National Adaptation Forum! 

We want to make sure you not only have a great time at the Forum, but also that we keep it as "green" as possible! 

IT IS EASY BEING GREEN
Bring your own travel mug or water bottle for all of your beverages at the Forum! 

Walk or take public transportation to the event each day! 

Make sure to recycle your paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic into the appropriate receptacles!

When serving yourself at meals, take only what you can eat to promote “zero waste.”



    Friday, March 13, 2015

    California National Marine Sanctuaries Double in Size

    On March 12, 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the approved expansion of both the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Both sanctuaries will more than double in size, and together will protect an additional 2,800 square miles of critical marine and coastal waters. These sanctuaries, which are located along the north-central coast of California, harbor incredibly diverse and productive marine and coastal ecosystems that provide habitat for a diversity of species, as well as a variety of ecosystem services. View NOAA’s press release here.

    This expansion is particularly timely given the current climate change adaptation project underway in the region. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, in partnership with EcoAdapt and other regional stakeholders, is engaged in a multi-year project aimed at assessing the Sanctuary’s climate change vulnerability and developing climate change adaptation strategies for focal resources. Deemed a “cutting-edge project that all National Marine Sanctuary sites will need to follow” by the National Marine Protected Area Center, the North-Central Coast and Ocean Climate-Smart Adaptation Project is tackling marine and coastal climate change issues in new and exciting ways.

    EcoAdapt provided critical support during the Vulnerability Assessment phase of the project, and will continue to play a role in the Adaptation Planning phase with Lara Hansen serving as an adaptation advisor for the Sanctuary’s Adaptation Working group and Whitney Reynier providing technical expertise. Learn more about the project by:

    • Viewing the recent webinar, which gives a project overview, details the results from the vulnerability assessment, and explains the upcoming adaptation planning phase.
    • Visiting EcoAdapt’s Gulf of the Farallones project page.

    -- Whitney

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    New study says people who don't believe in climate change don't like people who do, and vice versa

    A new study from Nature Climate Change says people who don't believe in climate change don't like people who do, and vice versa!


    Just when you thought there weren't enough opportunities for people to not get along, its turns out our belief in the cause of climate change is another. Interesting perspective that reminds us that very few wars have ever been fought over science. Although we do have a long history of beliefs resulting in repudiation of science we don't like because it affects the status quo--think round Earth, sun centered solar system, lead as a pervasive toxin in our environment, endocrine disruptors. Eventually we come around to science and make it part of our beliefs. The lesson may not be that we are in a culture war, but we are in phase of developing new beliefs based on a new understanding of reality. Hopefully we do it quickly.

    - Lara