National Academy of Sciences Releases 3 Reports on America's Climate Choices

By Kirsten Feifel

Today, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released three reports on “America’s Climate Choices.” The NAS was commissioned by Congress in 2008 to develop policy relevant advice on how the United States should respond to the threats and potential impacts of climate change. The reports were produced by NAS panels on the magnitude of future climate change, adapting to the impacts of climate change, advancing the science of climate change, and informing effective decisions and actions related to climate change. In sum, approximately 90 experts from academia, government, nongovernmental organizations, and industry participated in America’s Climate Choices.  

Of particular interest to us at EcoAdapt is the 243 page report “Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change.” The report calls for a national adaptation strategy and program, supported by federal technical and scientific resources but predominately implemented at the state and local levels. Adaptation measures will generally be place-based and case specific; however, many of the required resources and information needs are ubiquitous. The report highlights the idea that effective adaptation is fundamentally a risk management strategy - an insurance policy against an uncertain future.  Initially, adaptation strategies that are low-cost with win-win outcomes and near-term benefits are likely the most desirable.

This report has made us even more excited about the CAKE (Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange) project! The NAS panel recommends that practitioners at all levels - federal, state, and local - begin collaborating to learn from each other and exchange adaptation ideas. CAKE provides the perfect venue for this collaboration; it will have case studies, a directory of practitioners, and offer resources to support climate change adaptation efforts. What the NAS recommends is what CAKE will provide; how timely!  Look for the official CAKE launch on July 4, 2010 -