A major part of the federal government’s climate change research strategy is for the federal government to coordinate efforts with state and local governments. Most of the research programs focus on greenhouse gases, but there are also studies on how food markets and ecosystems will be impacted by climate change. The coordinating efforts should involve federal agencies, state and local governments, business sectors, academia and other groups. There are several ways that the federal government can get started on its climate change research strategy.
The administration has an Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) that has been tasked with developing a comprehensive climate change budget. The budget will be used to support climate change research through a variety of channels including grants, industry-sponsored initiatives, public knowledge and other activities. For the budget to be effective, it will need to be administered in a way that links climate change research to other federal programs and activities. The budget must also set aside funds for climate change adaptation, which will help communities adapt to climate change. OSTP is looking at ways to use grant money for climate change adaptation in the context of reducing energy consumption.
On top of the federal climate change budget, there are some other ways the government can start to implement its climate change research strategy. Many colleges and universities have developed special research units focusing on climate change. For example, Stanford University has a Center for Climate and Energy Policy, focusing on both residential and commercial applications related to climate change. Other colleges and universities including the University of California – Santa Barbara have various centres on climate change, with researchers studying a range of issues that will impact our environment in the future.
Climate Change Strategies
At the state level, there are also many programs and organizations looking to implement federal climate change strategies. In New Jersey, for example, the state department has established the New Jersey Office of Policy and Management’s Office of Environmental Quality Services. This office works closely with various state agencies to reduce pollution and prepare for climate change. In June, the state released its first-ever green building report card, rating each of the state’s environmental agencies on how well they are preparing for climate change and how well they are reducing pollution. New Jersey was graded a “C” for its efforts on reducing pollution and improving its ability to adapt to climate change.
Similarly, in California, the state’s Department of California Air and California State University system has created the Center for Climate Innovation. The centre works with colleges and university to improve the effectiveness of climate change adaptation in the state. It also provides research opportunities and teaches the impact of climate change adaptation on public health and development. Recently, California’s state legislature passed a bill that requires agencies providing clean energy and natural gas to integrate climate change into their development plans.
Many private organizations are starting to look at climate change adaptation as an important part of their work. Some companies, such as The Boston Globe, have published reports highlighting how adaptation is playing out across the country. For example, New Orleans recently had to come up with a plan to save the city from flooding. adaptation is also playing out at the local level, where cities are adapting to climate change even as they attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As noted by the Globe, “Many cities and towns are finding that climate adaptation is not a priority, even as they seek to cut emissions.”
With federal climate change research funding in place, scientists are beginning to look at adaptation in the larger national context. One emerging theory is that climate change will not be fully mitigated until the sources of greenhouse gases become too expensive or too dependent on other forms of renewable energy. In other words, the Earth’s climate is not stable as it is today due to human activities. The resulting rise in Earth’s temperature will cause some feedback effects, such as increasing flood risks, melting ice caps, or increasing ocean acidity levels that will affect human societies and infrastructure in different ways.
A federal climate change research strategy that emphasizes adaptation as a key component may help provide the scientific foundation to address some of these feedback effects. It also makes sense from a cost-effective perspective. Some of the largest federal agencies are now funding climate adaptation as part of their Earth science research. As a result, more scientists are becoming interested in the role that climate change plays in our everyday lives and the need for a comprehensive plan to mitigate and adapt to climate change.