Strategy includes using climate science to help predict and prevent fires.
"As climate change spurs extended droughts and longer fire seasons, this collaborative wildfire blueprint will help us restore forests and rangelands to make communities less vulnerable to catastrophic fire," said Acting Chair Boots. "With President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Administration is committed to promoting smart policies and partnerships like this strategy that support states, communities, businesses, farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders who are working to protect themselves from more frequent or intense fires, droughts and floods, and other impacts of climate change."
The Strategy includes both national strategic planning and regionally-specific assessment and risk analysis to address such factors as climate change, increasing community sprawl, and pests and disease affecting forest health across landscapes, regardless of ownership. Approaches include:
Adopting preventive measures, such as fuels thinning and controlled burns;
Promoting effective municipal, county and state building and zoning codes and ordinances;
Ensuring that watersheds, transportation and utility corridors are part of future management plans; and
Determining how organizations can best work together to reduce and manage human-caused ignitions.
The comprehensive principles and processes highlighted in the strategy have already been implemented successfully in some areas of the country, such as the Blue Mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona and the Greater Okefenokee Association of Landowners in Georgia. The Strategy will encourage knowledge sharing between communities and expand best practices to other projects and locations across the country.
The White House has said it will require environmental impact studies to consider climate change, but new guidelines have been stalled for years.
This week, frustrated after years of inaction, the Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to force Obama’s CEQ to finalize the new rules. From the lawsuit:
With the effects of climate change becoming more and more evident, prompt action is necessary to ensure that climate change analysis is integrated into all levels of federal agencies’ planning. Full analysis and meaningful consideration of these impacts before federal government decisions are made will strongly affect the extent to which climate change and its consequential dangers are limited or avoided in the coming century.
“The Obama Administration has repeatedly promised to take action on climate, but talk is cheap. Its delay here is unlawful, as well as inexplicable and irresponsible,” said George Kimbrell, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “This unlawful delay is the opposite of the Obama Administration’s repeated promises to address climate change.”
Clever, but I don’t think the CEQ has authority to enforce a NEPA regulation. Any 2Ls out there?
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hereby directs each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government.
This includes any results published in peer-reviewed scholarly publications that are based on research that directly arises from Federal funds, as defined in relevant OMB circulars (e.g., A-21and A-11). It is preferred that agencies work together, where appropriate, to develop these plans.
The Idaho Legislature today passed House Bill 470, a bill to create a new lethal “Wolf Depredation Control Board” to administer a fund for widespread killing of wolves in the state. The bill, expected to be signed into law by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, sets aside $400,000 in state funds to kill roughly 500 wolves, leaving just 150 in the entire state.
The new board will consist of members appointed and overseen by Otter, who said in 2007 that he wanted to be the first to kill an Idaho wolf after federal protections were taken away. The board will be made up of representatives of the agricultural, livestock and hunting communities. The bill does not require any members of the board to represent the wolf conservation community.
Document leaked to Wikileaks. Allows companies to pollute, avoid fines, and generally skip environmental treaties and laws.
[T]he Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures. The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.
Today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators’ summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.
The Environment Chapter covers what the Parties propose to be their positions on: environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity and fishing stocks; and trade and investment in ‘environmental’ goods and services. It also outlines how to resolve enviromental disputes arising out of the treaty’s subsequent implementation. The draft Consolidated Text was prepared by the Chairs of the Environment Working Group, at the request of TPP Ministers at the Brunei round of the negotiations.
Obama’s science advisor describes the #PolarVortex and climate change. Seriously! Check it out.
President Obama’s Science and Technology Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, explains the polar vortex in 2 minutes—and why climate change makes extreme weather more likely going forward. Learn more at http://wh.gov/climate-change.
Join us this Friday, January 10th at 2:00 PM ET for a conversation with leading meteorologists, climate scientists, and weather experts about why temperatures dipped to such frigid lows this week, how weather experts turn raw data into useful forecasts, and what we know about extreme weather events in the context of a changing climate.
White House invites the public to chat about the Polar Vortex and climate change. Yep, the White House! h/t Revkin
TransCanada has begun putting crude oil into the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which eventually will carry up to 700,000 barrels of oil a day between Cushing and refineries on the Gulf Coast.
A: By incorporating climate science into environmental regulations. The EPA recently published 17 adaptation plans for various environmental regulatory offices in the U.S. These plans affect the quality of our water and air, reduce chemical waste in the environment, and improve government employee knowledge on climate science. Note that in 2010, and 2013 President Obama signed executive orders requiring all of the Federal Government to implement adaptation plans based on climate science. Here’s the EPA’s list of plans. Each agency will have their own adaptation plans, and I’ll post those as I receive them.
Check out the plans if you can! They’re free and easy to read.
EPA Adaptation Implementation Plans
In early November, 2013 EPA released 17 Program and Regional Adaptation Implementation Plans for a 60 day public comment period. The public is invited to review and provide comment on the draft Implementation Plans through the public docket at www.regulations.gov (Docket Number EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0568). The docket will open as soon as the Federal Register Notice is published. If you are providing comments through the public docket, it is important to identify which of the 17 Plans your comments refer to. Thank you for your interest and assistance.
The precipitous loss of native vegetation [to agriculture] across the United States has led to a dramatic decline of insect populations.
This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.
It is only the latest bad news about the dramatic decline of insect populations.
Another insect in serious trouble is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.
That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.
“There’s no question that the loss of habitat is huge,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, who has long warned of the perils of disappearing insects. “We notice the monarch and bees because they are iconic insects,” he said. “But what do you think is happening to everything else?”
A big part of it is the way the United States farms. As the price of corn has soared in recent years, driven by federal subsidies for biofuels, farmers have expanded their fields. That has meant plowing every scrap of earth that can grow a corn plant, including millions of acres of land once reserved in a federal program for conservation purposes.
Bump in corn grown for ethanol has polluted water and wiped out 5 million acres of conserved land, AP finds
Five million acres of land — more than in Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have been pulled from conservation on Obama’s watch, according to Agriculture Department figures.
What’s more, from 2005 to 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 1 billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.
Some of that fertilizer has seeped into drinking water, contaminating rivers and boosting the growth of enormous algae fields in the Gulf of Mexico; the algae eventually decompose, sucking oxygen from the water and leaving behind a huge dead zone, currently covering 5,800 square miles of sea floor where marine life can’t survive.
That dead zone is just one example of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.
Thanks for following me all this time. Honestly, I don’t know. The new EO is mostly focused on infrastructure and disaster preparedness. Things like how the Federal Government can help communities better prepare for inevitableclimate impacts that will occur, such as wild fires, health impacts, coastal erosion, economic resilience. Things like that.
So, this particular Executive Order is focused on adaptation and resilience for cities, and doesn’t really focus on prevention. In fact, there’s a package of resilience actions that the President has taken published right on the White House website: “Climate Change Resilience | The White House”.
I don’t focus on prevention, so I’ll have to direct you to Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which has several energy initiatives that might interest you.
The Obama Administration has taken significant steps to strengthen the climate resilience of America’s communities and economy. More than 30 Federal agencies developed their first-ever Climate Change Adaptation Plans, outlining strategies to protect their operations, programs, and investments to better serve communities and safeguard our public resources in the face of climate change. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Administration has provided resources to rebuild the affected area to be more resilient than before, including support for more climate-resilient roads and infrastructure, and projects that protect drinking water and buffer communities from flooding. In addition, Federal agencies have partnered with states, cities, tribes, and the private sector to develop strategies to address the impacts of climate change on our freshwater resources, oceans and coasts, and wildlife. Agencies have also built new, data-driven tools to help decision makers and resource managers map and plan for future sea level rise. From Florida to Minnesota, and from Alaska to New York, Federal agencies have partnered with communities to provide funding and technical assistance to address local climate impacts such as sea level rise, flooding, and water scarcity.
To build on this progress, the Executive Order (E.O.) “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” signed today directs Federal agencies to:
Modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments: Agencies will examine their policies and programs and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger. Agencies will identify and remove any barriers to resilience-focused actions and investments– for example, policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters instead of to stronger standards – including through agency grants, technical assistance, and other programs in sectors from transportation and water management to conservation and disaster relief.
Manage lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience: America’s natural resources are critical to our Nation’s economy, health and quality of life. The E.O. directs agencies to identify changes that must be made to land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations to strengthen the climate resilience of our watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them. Federal agencies will also evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands, as well as how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.
Provide information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience: Scientific data and insights are essential to help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. The E.O. instructs Federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions. In keeping with the President’s Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.
Plan for climate change related risk: Recognizing the threat that climate change poses to Federal facilities, operations and programs, the E.O. builds on the first-ever set of Federal agency adaptation plans released earlier this year and directs Federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to evaluate and address their most significant climate change related risks.
To implement these actions, the E.O. establishes an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies. To assist in achieving the goals of the E.O., these agencies are directed to consider the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.”