Regardless of the efforts we undertake today to limit future climate change, some amount of change is unavoidable. In this light, it is important that we not only consider mitigation strategies (reducing climate change), but that we also include adaptation when we think about how we will solve the global climate change problem.
Climate change adaptation involves coping with the changes that will occur, creating a society that is resilient in the face of climate change. Adaptation strategies would include planning for impacts on public health, coastal areas, agriculture, forestry, ecosystems, water, and energy. Recognizing its importance, the EPA has recently embraced climate change adaptation as a central concern of the agency.
About a month ago, the EPA released its Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation. The EPA has identified climate change action as one of its priorities, and the Policy Statement will guide the agency in developing and implementing a climate-change adaptation plan and integrating the plan into its program’s policies, rules, and operations.
In coordination with the EPA’s national headquarters, every national-program office and regional office will be required to develop an implementation plan showing how it will carryout the measures called for within the agency wide plan. The individual offices will be allowed the flexibility to decide how they can best meet agency wide goals and requirements, making for a more efficient climate change adaptation process.
The EPA website provides resources on both climate change and climate change adaptation. It’s time to follow the EPA’s lead and not only ask ourselves how we can limit climate change, but also how we will adapt to a changing natural environment and remain a strong global society in the future.