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What is the status of US climate change mitigation and adaptation planning?

December 5, 2012

It is incorrect to say that there is no US planning for climate change mitigation and adaptation. We can however ask if the current level of planning is adequate and effective.

Let’s look at the federal level first.

Involved agencies:

Each of these agencies has significant involvement in and manages programs related to climate change. They however are mostly collecting or providing information and to some extent coordination activities. None of them have a overarching mission to assure that the US has a coherent mitigation and adaptation plan and much less a policy framework.  With all this activity we must ask who is at the wheel? Where are we headed? If there is indeed an overarching plan; where is it, and what does it contain?

At the state level there are numerous plans but once again no overarching coordination.  Kudos to the states as many of them actually have developed policy recommendations.  One must wonder if their efforts would not be more effective if they fit into a national plan with adequate goals.

Some local agencies also have climate change mitigation and adaptation plans and policies such as New York City and San Francisco . These are laudable efforts but how effective can they be if the country as a whole has no idea where it is going?

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