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President Obama’s Climate Action Plan
On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, which sets forth a series of executive actions to combat climate change. President Obama’s strategy focuses on three areas: reducing carbon pollution, preparing the U.S. for climate change, and leading international efforts to reduce global emissions.
Key components of the plan – conserving land and water resources, maintaining agricultural sustainability, managing droughts and preparing for future floods – are included below. The plan also includes the expansion of existing federal climate science research networks, an approach similar to CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS), to address climate change in Southeast Asia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will build on the existing network of federal climate science research and action centers by creating seven new Regional Climate Hubs to deliver science-based knowledge, specifically tailored to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners in each region.
Conserving Land and Water Resources:
America’s ecosystems are critical to our nation’s economy and the lives and health of our citizens. These natural resources can also help ameliorate the impacts of climate change, if they are properly protected. The Administration has invested significantly in conserving relevant ecosystems; including working with Gulf State partners after the Deepwater Horizon spill to enhance barrier islands and marshes that protect communities from severe storms. The Administration is also implementing climate-adaptation strategies that promote resilience in fish and wildlife populations, forests and other plant communities, freshwater resources, and the ocean. Building on these efforts, the president is also directing federal agencies to identify and evaluate additional approaches to improve our natural defenses against extreme weather, protect biodiversity and conserve natural resources in the face of a changing climate, and manage our public lands and natural systems to store more carbon.
Maintaining Agricultural Sustainability:
Building on the existing network of federal climate science research and action centers, the Department of Agriculture is creating seven new Regional Climate Hubs to deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. These hubs will work with universities and other partners, including the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to support climate resilience. Its Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation are also providing grants and technical support to agricultural water users for more water-efficient practices in the face of drought and long-term climate change
Leveraging the work of the National Disaster Recovery Framework for drought, the Administration will launch a cross-agency National Drought Resilience Partnership as a “front door” for communities seeking help to prepare for future droughts and reduce drought impacts. By linking information (monitoring, forecasts, outlooks, and early warnings) with drought preparedness and longer-term resilience strategies in critical sectors, this effort will help communities manage drought-related risks.
Preparing for Future Floods:
To ensure that projects funded with taxpayer dollars last as long as intended, federal agencies will update their flood-risk reduction standards for federally funded projects to reflect a consistent approach that accounts for sea-level rise and other factors affecting flood risks. This effort will incorporate the most recent science on expected rates of sea-level rise (which vary by region) and build on work done by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, which announced in April 2013 that all federally funded Sandy-related rebuilding projects must meet a consistent flood risk reduction standard that takes into account increased risk from extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and other impacts of climate change.
The president’s full Climate Action Plan can be accessed here.