Monday, November 4, 2013

Preparing for Climate Change- First Save Some Money

Total National Debt US
On Friday, November 1, 2013 to little notice the White House released an executive order for preparing the nation for climate change. The new executive order establishes an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience replacing the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force established by executive order in 2009. That task force created a framework for coordinated Federal action and planning on climate change. The new Council will move forward continuing and building upon the Adaptation Task Force's work.

The executive order states that “the impacts of climate change -- including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise -- are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation.” Though, that change has not been particularly noticeable around here.

The President states that the impacts of climate change “are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures.” “Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, ...”to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity ...of agency operations, services, and programs.”

“The Federal Government must build on recent progress and pursue new strategies to improve the Nation's preparedness and resilience.” The executive order requires that within 9 months the heads of the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies... shall complete an inventory and assessment of proposed and completed changes to their land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations necessary to make the Nation's watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them, more resilient in the face of a changing climate.”

Each Agency is ordered to develop an “Adaptation Plan” that will include: identification and assessment of climate change related impacts on the agency's ability to accomplish its missions, operations, and programs and evaluate the most significant climate change risks and vulnerabilities in agency operations and missions for both the short and long term. Finally, each agency is to outline actions it will take to manage these risks and vulnerabilities. Each agency shall develop, implement, and update comprehensive plans that integrate consideration of climate change into agency operations and overall mission objectives.

If you recall when the President spoke at the Copenhagen climate meeting in 2010 he promised that the United States will reduce their CO2 emissions to 17% below the 2005 levels by 2020. In addition, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is winding up a series of “public listening sessions” across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants allowing the agency to develop new rules that would tighten regulations on coal-burning power plants and possibly phase out coal burning power plants completely.

Annual US Budget Deficit
 Five years into the economic recovery of the recession of 2008 our federal government is running an annual deficit that is over $900 billion and our total national debt continues to grow. As a nation we need financial resources and resilience to address whatever the impacts of a changing climate may bring. In 2012 there was more than $110 billion in damages from natural disasters according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) which has been keeping records since 1980. The 2012 total damages rank only behind 2005, which incurred $160 billion in damages due in part to four devastating land-falling hurricanes including Katrina

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