Departments within the agency are also taking on their own specific adaptation strategies. Part of the Federal Aviation Administration's focus, for instance, is on accessing better weather data through its NextGen program.
The Energy Department launched a study last year to identify the impacts of climate change on the U.S. energy sector and where the agency could support resiliency efforts. Over the course of this fiscal year, it will continue to update all appropriate planning documents to address climate change adaptation and build on existing research related to adaptation strategies.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a subset of the Commerce Department, will create a climate adaptation toolkit for the Coral Triangle, the area of endangered coral ecosystems around the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The toolkit will offer guidance for local governments on outreach, education, measuring vulnerability and developing early action plans.
NOAA will also continue to monitor sea level change, track fish populations, prepare regional climate outlooks and train coastal communities to adapt to sea level rise.
60-day comment period to come
For many agencies, the integration of climate change adaptation measures is far from new. Since Obama's first term, sustainability has been in the background of many agencies' work.
But publishing a plan gives cohesion to bigger agencies like Interior and USDA whose climate change goals may have been scattered across bureaus and agencies, said Bill Hohenstein, director of the climate change program office at USDA.
"With an agency like USDA with widely varied responsibilities ... it's important to look at an issue like climate change comprehensively," he said.
In the 60-day comment period that follows, Hohenstein expects to hear from the various people who work with USDA -- farmers, rural residents, industry workers and business owners -- who are curious about how to manage climate risks.
In drafting these climate plans, the agencies are not doing more than what is required of them, said C2ES's Casola.
"But it's a nice step," he said. "The executive branch [is] making a commitment to becoming more energy-efficient, more water-efficient, and trying to address climate change by reducing emissions and by managing risks from impacts."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500