US Government steps up climate change action

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released two new plans to reduce its emissions and prepare for the extreme-weather impacts of climate change.

The Climate Change Adaptation Plan will incorporate the threat of climate change into future EPA operations and policymaking, while the Sustainability Plan aims to slash the Federal Governments emissions.

“Climate change is no longer a distant threat. It is already challenging our communities and our ability to protect the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“EPA’s Adaptation Plan provides the agency with a roadmap for how we will anticipate and plan for a changing climate, while our Sustainability Plan identifies specific ways we will help slow the rate of climate change by reducing our own carbon footprint.”

The plans were released on the five-year anniversary of President Obama’s executive order on Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance, which reduced Federal Government emission by 17%.

EPA commitments include:

– Providing communities with the tools they need to increase their resilience. For example, a stormwater calculator and climate adaptation tool empowers community planners to estimate the amount of stormwater runoff that they’ll have to manage today and in the future.

–  Incorporating climate adaptation criteria in the Brownfields grants process to ensure cleanup actions taken by communities are effective as the climate changes.

–  Integrating considerations of climate change into the Clean Water State Revolving Funds process and continue working with States to ensure investments in water infrastructure are resilient to changes in climate.

US environmental issues

The EPA has already come under fire this week for encouraging fracking with its Clean Power Program, which aims to reduce US reliance on coal-fired power. 

The US was also scrutinised in the recent Global Green Energy Index; for being less eco-friendly than its reputation and global power would suggest.

Brad Allen

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