Strategies for Stabilization, Mitigation, and Adaptation
Action 1: Green Buildings and Building Design
Building construction and operations account for about half of the national energy budget and a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions, because electrical power that is used to light, heat, and cool buildings is fueled principally by coal. Numerous design and construction practices, technologies, and standards are currently available under the rubric of green building. They could reduce building energy use dramatically. However, most projections for building energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions show only modest improvements over the next 20+ years.
What barriers stand between the current trend and more rapid achievement of building energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions?
What can be done to speed the deployment of existing green building practices and technologies into the marketplace?
What emerging technologies offer the most promise to reduce building energy use and greenhouse emissions?
Task 1 The building community should develop strategies to incorporate energy efficiency and green practices into both existing and historical buildings. One specific action to accomplish this goal is to reduce energy use and urban “heat islands” through the use of cool-roof efforts, as advocated by the One Degree Less campaign. This practical action uses simple and relatively inexpensive techniques and technologies, such as painting roofs white or using other reflective or insulative roof materials.
Task 2 Federal, state, and local government organizations and lenders and builders should collaborate to make green buildings accessible to all income groups.
Task 3 Private insurance and government codes should be modified to facilitate green building measures.
Task 4 Measuring, verifying, and modifying systems should reflect increasingly stringent energy standards and improved technologies.
Task 5 The federal government, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Science Foundation (NSF), should support research into green buildings. Social science can contribute to research and promulgation of green building practices.
Task 6 The building and construction industries should collaborate to create a green building wiki; a free Web-based encyclopedia built collaboratively.
Task 7 Government, industry, and civic organizations should advance education and public awareness on the importance of green buildings among multiple stakeholders.
Task 8 Teachers should use green building practices — especially during early education — as education tools.
Action 2: Moving Forward — Transportation and Emissions Reduction
According to the US Greenhouse Gas Inventory for transportation, between 1990 and 2007, US GHG emissions from transportation sources grew by about 30%. As of 2005, transportation sources were nearly 28% of US GHG emissions overall. The three biggest segments of the transportation sector in terms of GHG emissions are light-duty passenger vehicles (cars and sportutility vehicles), freight trucks, and aviation. Each of these segments has increased in overall emissions in the past 10 years.
There is a need to better understand emissions trends and underlying driving forces, as well as current strategies and technology and policy options to reduce emissions. Relevant societal trends, such as land use patterns and changes in manufacturing, must be taken into consideration, along with transportation system priorities that affect GHG emissions, such as congestion reduction and safety. These considerations will be useful in determining possible future scenarios for transportation with respect to GHG emissions and opportunities for reducing emissions. www.onedegreeless.org; www .usgbc .org
Task 1 Policymakers should understand transportation market forces, to inform pricing policy or a carbon tax, and answer questions such as
- When and where will there be a rebound effect?
- Under what conditions are travel behavior and resulting GHG emissions changed or not changed for multimodal freight and passenger travel?
- What are the implications of various policy scenarios for social justice?
Task 2 Policymakers should understand implications of federal transportation infrastructure investment on climate change, to inform reauthorization formulas and discretionary programs. Issues include
- Relative value of investment for new projects versus enhancements to existing infrastructure
- Life cycle analysis (LCA) including trade-offs for different approaches to achieving mobility objectives
- Optimizing multimodal travel in metropolitan areas
Task 3 Federal, state, and business decision makers should understand the impact of information on consumer behavior and resulting GHG emissions and provide information where and when it is most useful for reducing emissions. Possibilities include
- GHG implications of shipping options
- Better public education on GHG emissions and trade-offs for vehicles
- Instantaneous miles per gallon (mpg) information for drivers
Task 4 Public and private fleet managers across all transportation modes should understand the best pace for advanced technology investment and adaptation from a perspective of life cycle GHG emissions and cost. This will inform strategies and policies to encourage faster turnover and incentives for acceleration of better technologies to increase the pace of environmental benefits.
Task 5 Policymakers should draw on standardized wells-to-wheels/wings analyses of environmental emissions, land use, and water use when supporting the use of advanced fuels in vehicles.
Task 6 Freight shippers should package goods for more efficient shipping.
Task 7 The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) should conduct a study of minimum potential energy intensity with trade-offs for environment, economics, and travel time for each transportation mode so that inspirational benchmarks can be set to drive technology innovation and implementation of solutions.
Task 8 Researchers and policy analysts across all transportation modes should model decision- making tools and analyses after the cross-governmental Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and develop planning tools that integrate strategies, measures, and visualization of trade-offs between GHGs and other environmental impacts at a system level.
Action 3: Animal Agriculture and Climate Change
Despite the findings reported in the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, much of the recent discussion about climate change has focused on personal and business energy use while failing to account for the gross contributions by the meat, egg, and dairy industries and supporting sectors or the significance of intensive animal agricultural practices that have become the norm in Western nations and increasingly are exported into lesser-developed countries.*
The direct connection between farm animal production and climate change is not as well known as the linkages between climate change and other industries, such as transportation. It is essential to identify the ways in which energy use in confinement production facilities, deforestation, production of nitrogen fertilizers to grow feed crops, and farm animal waste management systems contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Moving toward solutions, attention should be paid to agribusiness industries’ existing mitigation techniques, as well as the impacts of converting to more-sustainable production systems.
Task 1 Congress should encourage the US animal agriculture sector to participate in carbon markets and consider soil carbon sequestration (primarily emphasizing the use of pastures).
Task 2 USDA and Congress should revisit animal product labeling laws so that labels allow for identification of the carbon footprint of the product.
Task 3 Congress should consider how existing infrastructure makes it more difficult for smaller-scale producers to reduce transportation associated with slaughtering and processing.
Task 4 USDA should set a research priority for comparing methane and other GHG emissions (in a life cycle analysis) from pastured animals as compared with animals raised on grain in confinement.
Task 5 USDA should review and analyze the impact of subsidies for various crops on climate change. (This analysis has never been done and is necessary for any redirection of subsidies.)
Task 6 Researchers should develop sample policies and modeling analyses for local land use bodies so they can actively preserve land for management-intensive grazing of animals in peri-urban areas.
Task 7 To better assist communities implementing GHG inventories, researchers should evaluate how to best measure and quantify emissions from production of meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Task 8 The NAS should conduct a study that leads to a national science-based dialogue about how meat consumption, processing, packaging, and waste impact GHGs.
Task 9 There should be a public communications campaign to educate the public more about the issue of animal agriculture and climate change, in order to impact individual consumption patterns (similar to calling attention to how our driving habits impact GHGs).
Task 10 Environmental and other organizations (including public health professionals) should bridge work on food/agriculture issues with work on climate change.
Task 11 Institutions, including universities, should identify the sources of animal products they use in a way that considers the GHGs/ carbon footprint, including increasing funding for existing farm-to-institution programs.
Action 4: Minimizing Agricultural Impacts on Climate; Minimizing Climate Impacts on Agriculture
Agriculture is subject to climate change, both directly (i.e., via temperature and precipitation effects) and indirectly (e.g., through changing pest and weed ranges). At the same time, agricultural management contributes to the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations responsible for climate change. That this is occurring over an already complex landscape of regional geographic considerations, changing land use patterns, innovations in adaptation, and a multifaceted socioeconomic environment suggests that multiple possibilities may exist for addressing the challenges that agriculture faces in maintaining widespread food security while preserving environmental integrity. However, the scale of information needed does not necessarily match the scale at which information is available, and the application of that information can face challenges related to specific production types, finances, and social acceptance of climate change as a fundamental management consideration.
Task 1 USDA should provide monetary incentives for creative technical approaches to coping with climate change impacts on plants and livestock.
Task 2 Agricultural producers should rethink agriculture and energy systems so that energy and agricultural waste streams can be utilized, for example, high-value agricultural production coupled with urban waste energy.
Task 3 State agriculture departments should include climate change considerations in nutrition management programs.
Task 4 The NAS should assess regionally appropriate management recommendations on mitigation and adaptation to protect agricultural production in conjunction with producers.
Task 5 USDA should fund development of stress-resistant varieties and management practices to cope with climate stresses for agriculture and forestry systems.
Task 6 USDA should develop new approaches to spread out producers’ risk over time and space.
Task 7 The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) should develop long-term data sets to quantify and understand the impacts of climate on agriculture.
Task 8 USDA should perform a life cycle GHG analysis on all production systems, including controlled-environment production systems in northern latitudes.
Task 9 USDA should study the effects of climate change on pests and invasive species.
Task 10 The NAS should conduct a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of climate stress on livestock production and identify potential management practices to alleviate stress.
Task 11 USDA Cooperative Extension Service should make climate change a priority in educational and engagement efforts. www.national academies.org/agriculture; http://dels.nas.edu/banr; www.ars.usda.gov
Action 5: Mitigating Greenhouse Gases Other Than CO2
Reducing emissions of non-CO2 gases can help minimize global climate change and yield broader economic and environmental benefits. Recent analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that feasible reductions in emissions of methane and other non-CO2 gases over the next 50 years could make a contribution to slowing global warming that is as large as, or even larger than, similar reductions in CO2. Mitigation costs for non-CO2 gases are lower than for energy-related CO2. Because sources of “other gases” are much more diverse, not just energy and land use, there is a large portfolio of mitigation options and the potential for reduced costs for a given climate policy objective.
Task 1 Policymakers should recognize the substantial opportunities and benefits of mitigation of non-CO2 GHGs.
Task 2 Mitigation technologies and best management practices exist for many of the non-CO2 gases and their sources. Industry and others should incorporate and implement these practices as aggressively as possible.
Task 3 Getting to near-zero emissions for some of the non-CO2 sources is not currently technically feasible (e.g., methane from ruminant livestock), and/or to do so may require large-scale societal changes.
Task 4 Researchers and decision makers should use a systems approach for integrated thinking across gases and sectors in order to make sure not to create a new problem by addressing another.
Task 5 EPA should improve research and understanding regarding co-benefits and the range of environmental impacts associated with the interrelationships between air quality and climate change.
Task 6 EPA and other researchers should work to better articulate the relationship between emissions, concentrations, and radiative forcing for all GHGs, not only carbon dioxide. This will help us better understand the role of non-CO2 greenhouse gases in climate stabilization.
Task 7 EPA should initiate or support targeted education campaigns to inform relevant sectors and decision makers of opportunity for reductions of non-CO2 GHGs.
Action 6: Energy Efficiency and Conservation
The cheapest carbon is what we don’t emit (see Chapter 6). Energy efficiency is the fastest and least expensive first step in tackling carbon emissions. Analytical and policy issues must be addressed if energy efficiency is to realize its very large potential contribution (perhaps 25% or greater) to the climate challenge.
Task 1 Decision makers should utilize price signals, to create incentives to achieve increased energy efficiency and in the context of cap and trade systems.
Task 2 Researchers and regulators should focus on plug loads, electrical devices that receive power from AC wall outlets, such as cell phones and small appliances, in developing strategies for energy efficiency.
Task 3 Policymakers should integrate energy efficiency into other related policy arenas (e.g., health care, criminology, education).
Task 4 Policymakers should support and use social science research to understand and influence consumer behavior in energy markets.
Task 5 Federal and state agencies, in partnership with industry, should increase research on use of heat and energy capture technology.
Task 6 Federal and state agencies and utilities should increase research on maximum achievable energy cuts to provide a more conclusive projection of the role of energy efficiency in mitigating climate change.
Task 7 DOE should increase research on energy storage technology in order to increase efficiency.
Task 8 EPA and DOE should initiate and fund major public education campaigns to encourage substantially increased energy efficiency and conservation.
Action 7: Biofuel Industry and CO2 Emissions—Implications for Policy Development
Biofuels are gaining in popularity as replacements for fossil fuels. Biofuels result from the conversion of biomass into liquid fuels, which are then burned for energy. Various biofuel conversion options are being researched. These include biological processes and thermal chemical processes, with different processes more appropriate for different crops, conversion plant size and location, ecosystem service efficiencies, and logistic options. Collectively these components will impact energy efficiencies and the carbon footprint of biofuels. Certain biofuels have great potential to reduce greenhouse gases; however, current biofuels (particularly corn kernels) may be neutral, at best, in terms of net energy production.
Task 1 Policymakers should include biofuels in a comprehensive energy policy, including energy conservation and efficiency.
Task 2 Policymakers should use the results of a life cycle analysis of biofuel systems when developing policy options.
Task 3 Researchers and policymakers should account for the carbon and energy footprint in research and policy on climate implications of large-scale biofuel production and sequestration strategies.
Task 4 Policymakers should develop incentives for outcomes, not technologies.
Task 5 Policymakers should base incentives such as the blenders credit for biofuel use on energy balance in the fuel of consideration. All biofuels are not created equal.
Task 6 Efforts should be made to maximize compatibility of new biofuels systems with existing fuel infrastructure.
Task 7 The federal government should increase support for research and curricular development (kindergarten through 12th grade and up) on current technologies for biofuels.
Action 8: Solar Energy Scaling Up—Science and Policy Needs
Solar energy is an important, but currently tiny, component of a low-carbon economy. Barriers to expansion of solar energy are economic, scientific and technological, and educational. Technologies include large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, new solar and fuel cell manufacturing, solar thermal energy, nonsilicon thermal energy, and related technologies for commercial and residential use in the United States, other industrialized nations, and in the developing world.
Task 1 Policymakers should emphasize implementation rather than developing new technologies.
Task 3 Policymakers and financers should develop strategies to alleviate the financial risk of commercial solar power.
Task 4 The solar industry and its allies (such as community colleges, colleges, and universities) should organize to deal with problems unrelated to the technology, such as lack of work force to expand.
Task 5 College students should serve dual roles — as the solar workforce and also as a community of solar proponents.
Action 9: How to Ensure Wind Energy Is Green Energy
Wind energy has become an increasingly important and the fastest-growing sector of the electrical power industry, largely because it has been promoted as being emission free and is supported by government subsidies and tax credits. However, large numbers of birds and bats are killed at utility-scale wind energy facilities, especially along forested ridgetops in the eastern United States. These fatalities raise important concerns about cumulative impacts of proposed wind energy development on bird and bat populations. Research and information are needed to better inform researchers, developers, decision makers, and other stakeholders and to help minimize adverse effects of wind energy development.
Task 1 State and federal regulatory agencies should improve the consistency of requirements and regulation and discourage policies that reduce research and environmental review prior to granting permits for new facilities.
Task 2 Decision makers should ensure that all positive and negative impacts of wind energy are analyzed in their proper contexts in relation to other sources of energy generation.
Task 3 An independent body should explore the development of a process to certify wind projects that adequately minimize or mitigate impacts on wildlife and habitat.
Task 4 All stakeholders must increase funding for priority monitoring and research, and federal and state agencies should increase funding and staffing to address wind permitting issues.
Task 5 Permitting agencies and public utility commissions should account for monitoring, research, and mitigation in up-front planning and permitting of wind projects to improve cost certainty.
Task 6 Federal and state guidelines should define and identify high risk areas that may warrant additional research, mitigation, or avoidance.
Action 10: Nuclear Energy—Using Science to Make Hard Choices
The future of nuclear energy is most often set forth in absolutist terms: either “nuclear energy is necessary to combat climate change” or “nuclear energy is an unacceptable option.” A more fruitful debate might follow from a conversation that begins by establishing the set of characteristics that are important for future energy sources and then evaluates nuclear energy in the context of these characteristics. Guidelines are needed for appropriate norms for discussing nuclear energy in the context of climate change. These include, but are not limited to, roles for economics, ethics, expertise, technical information, government funding, health and safety, and uncertainty. Exploration of what role nuclear energy might have if subsidies on all energy sources are made transparent, and if the external costs associated with carbon emissions are internalized, is also needed. The availability of qualified expertise and educational programs in nuclear power generation must also be considered.
Task 1 An independent, respected organization such as the NAS should develop a set of appropriate and transparent life cycle comparison metrics for all energy technologies, as well as conservation and efficiency.
Task 2 An independent, respected organization should conduct a complete analysis of subsidies, mandates, and market directives associated with all electricity generation options.
Task 3 NSF should issue a program announcement to fund further research in perception and communication of nuclear and climate issues.
Task 4 An independent, respected organization should further develop broadly acceptable communication materials about the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy (e.g., The Keystone Project, www.keystone.org/spp/ energy 07_nuclear.html).
Task 5 The federal government should increase funding for nuclear engineering and science education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Action 11: Economics—Setting the Price for Carbon
There is growing political momentum in the United States to set a price for carbon via a cap and trade mechanism. However, many substantive questions remain concerning the design of cap and trade and the role of complementary policies. Political questions remain on how to coalesce the political forces necessary to enact national legislation (as well as ratify new international agreements applicable in the post-2012 period). Key topics include (1) design issues such as stringency, timing, and “cost containment” provisions (banking and borrowing mechanisms, price caps and floors, and the use of offsets); (2) whether to create a GHG emission standard for new power plants to accelerate deployment of carbon capture and sequestration and to complement cap and trade; and (3) how the role of the coal industry in the public policy debate is likely to evolve and how to get it more actively involved in finding solutions. Other issues include the likely interplay of various ways to allocate and/or auction allowances, and the vastly different state regulatory systems for electrical utilities. This interplay impacts both the economics and politics of cap and trade.
Task 1 There should be more economic and policy research on merits or demerits of government oversight, regulation, and management of the allowance market. Research should examine both price ceilings and price floors.
Task 2 State-level regulation of electric utilities varies widely between traditional cost-of-service regulation and varying degrees of deregulation at the electricity generation level (coupled with continued regulation at the distribution level). There should be more economic and policy research on the complex interactions between state-level utility regulation and state and national climate change policies that are likely to occur. State legislators, public utility commission officials, and stakeholders should have a credible and accessible set of research findings to guide them in future regulatory decisions that interact with climate policy.
Task 3 There should be more research into the optimal combination of “carrots and sticks” that can accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture and sequestration. Issues of liability should also be addressed along with other legal/ regulatory issues.
Task 4 There should be more economic and policy research into how nations could make “border adjustments” to account for imports from countries that do not control GHG emissions. This is relatively easy in the case of carbon taxes but problematic in the case of cap and trade. Topics would include how World Trade Organization policy should treat such border adjustments.
Action 12: Forests and Markets for Ecosystem Services (ES)
Land managers, owners, and users continue to explore new and innovative ways to accomplish land management objectives. Markets for ecosystem services provide opportunities and challenges for forest/land stewardship; yet, a number of questions remain about the challenges to implementing most ES markets. It is useful to examine the markets for specific ecosystem services — conservation banking, water quality trading, wetlands banking, and carbon markets — to advance the research behind and implementation of ES markets.
Research to better understand ecosystem services and to provide proper valuation of these benefits of nature should include the following:
Scientists should develop better methods to measure, map, model, and value ecosystem services at multiple spatial and temporal scales:
- Technology/tools needed
- International global land use observatory
- (built with the following tools)
- Landsat Data Continuity Mission
- LIDAR systems
- Streamlined clearinghouse for remote sensing data with broad international access
- Science needed
- Methods for modeling carbon storage and approaches to modify existing models
- Dealing with scaling factors and different measurement techniques to relate data sets, models, and projections across regions
Valuation science (i.e., monetizing ecosystem services) should emphasize the following:
- How to improve spatial targeting mechanisms for identifying and valuing ES
- How to balance demand and supply of ES
- Explicit models for the demand side of ES (a set of models and tools with standardized measures of ecosystem service demand and value)
How do forest management activities (e.g., research should consider logging, thinning, burning) affect provision of ecosystem services individually and bundled?
- How does the area, type, and condition of a forested area affect the quantity and quality of water provided?
- How well do models predict carbon storage, and what modifications are needed?
- How can ‘leakage’ of forest ecosystem services be detected and prevented?
- Researchers should standardize language regarding ecosystem services.
- The government should develop registries of ecosystem services.
- Professional associations should develop verification standards across regions.
Funders should support research to improve understanding of ecosystem bundling:
- How do we best add value to carbon sequestration?
- Under what circumstances is it best to bundle multiple ecosystem services (climate regulation, water provision, biodiversity, etc.), and what are the implications and the trade-offs of doing so?
- How do we market and prices bundled services; we need to understand the relationship between resilience and bundled ecosystem services (ecosystem functioning)?
- Research should develop a systems approach to understanding ecosystem service bundling and processes.
- Solve conflicts between bundling
- Research should improve the connections between social and natural sciences within ecosystem services research.
Action 13: Policy Challenges of GHG Rule Making—Where the Rubber Meets the Road
A new law to reduce GHG emissions will be a major milestone, yet much of the “fine print” requirements will be addressed later by agencies through detailed agency rules based on a public process. Complex, contentious rules, especially those affecting major swaths of the US economy, can take 5 years or more to implement. Given the need to “get it right the first time,” can federal agencies expeditiously issue numerous rules before the rules become obsolete? If cap and trade regimes, along with offsets, are enacted, decisions must be made about the applicability (e.g., what gases/sectors) and design (e.g., trading/offsets/agency discretion of future GHG regulation). How can expediting rule making occur without sparing analytic rigor, given the need to provide incentives to foster data sharing among key parties; the culture clash between science and policy making; the potential for increased use of dispute resolution; and the role of states and the impacts of a regulatory “patchwork”? Presidential leadership and new legislation are necessary for action.
Task 1 Lack of knowledge about climate change mitigation is a barrier to a comprehensive GHG reduction program.
Task 2 The president should include funding for research and development (R&D) and pilot projects in the budget. Congress should appropriate money for R&D and pilot projects
Task 3 Strong presidential leadership is essential. The presidential message should identify what we need to do now and where we need to be headed. This will
- Decrease the chaos and make the regulatory process more linear
- Give clear marching orders to the agencies
- Create a firm political position from which to work with Congress
Task 4 Congress must draft legislation to avoid a patchwork of state approaches and should incorporate deadlines.
Task 5 Leadership, both in Congress and by the president, can be stimulated by national industry and business leaders demanding government action to
- Ensure that Congress clarifies the linkages between a GHG reduction scheme and the Clean Air Act (CAA)
- Enact GHG legislation that is comprehensive and obviates the need to regulate GHGs under the CAA and that preempts regulation of GHGs under the CAA to address climate change
- Maintain the CAA to address traditional pollution (e.g., ozone) while enacting new legislation to minimize climate change
Task 6 Constituent pressure on both Congress and the White House is important to enable enactment of strong legislation.
Task 7 Compromise will speed action.
Task 8 Congress should specify the nexus among climate change, air, and water regulation, perhaps beginning with existing regulations.
Task 9 Policymakers should utilize information and reports from existing advisory groups to inform policy and regulation.
Task 10 In the short term, a patchwork approach may be inevitable.
Action 14: Engaging China on a Pathway to Carbon Neutrality
China will play a key role in the development of any global effort to address climate change. According to the International Energy Agency, China is now the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, and its emissions are likely to continue growing strongly in the decades ahead. China’s position on climate change will also influence the action or inaction that other countries consider. While the United States has emitted roughly twice the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions as China over the past century, it has noted China’s potential to overwhelm other global mitigation efforts as at least one reason for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. China’s success or failure in curbing emissions will also be a powerful example for other developing countries to follow or avoid.
Task 1 Congress and the US administration should play a leadership role in limiting GHG emissions domestically and reengaging in international negotiations. This will help to encourage China to reduce its own GHG emissions.
Task 2 Governments should continue and expand work to reduce trade barriers for green technology.
Task 3 Associations of mayors and governors should establish climate sister city/province/ state relations with counterparts in China that face similar energy and climate issues.
Task 4 The United States should provide financial and technical assistance to China to reduce GHG emissions from existing and planned coal-fired power plants.
Task 5 China and the United States should support a joint study on the energy and carbon embedded in goods and products traded between the countries (Department of Commerce and Ministry of Commerce).
Task 6 A joint Chinese-US governmental task force should be established to assess climate security in Pacific Rim countries.
Task 7 The United States should increase assistance to build Chinese capacity for emission inventories and monitoring and for identification of carbon sinks.
Task 8 The United States should support capacity building to help bring locally appropriate technology to scale in China.
Task 9 There should be a massive cultural and educational exchange program to build a base of mutual understanding between the two countries.
Task 10 US universities should offer green MBAs in China that include sustainable development as a core component of the curriculum.
Action 15: Human Population and Demographics—Can Stabilizing Population Help Stabilize Climate?
Population growth is one of several drivers of climate change. Programs designed to improve access to reproductive health care and slow future growth of the world’s population can also serve as long-term mitigation strategies at the global level and adaptation strategies at the community level.
Task 1 The US Congress and other policymakers should
- allocate funding to achieve universal access to voluntary family planning as a means to slow the growth in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce human vulnerability to climate change impacts
- promote human rights-based strategies to reduce population growth, increase resilience, and build capacity for adaptation in regions most vulnerable to climate change impacts
Task 2 Climate science should fully integrate demography and population dynamics — including fertility, mortality, migration, geographic distribution, and age structure — into climate change research and models in order to better understand how these factors can contribute to optimum reductions in greenhouse gas emissions globally.
Task 3 Climate modelers, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), should work with demographers to clarify the effect and feasibility of slowing the growth in greenhouse gas emissions and reducing human vulnerability to climate change impacts by achieving the UN’s low population growth projection of 7.8 billion people in 2050; likewise, they should clarify the climate change outcomes that would be likely to result from the UN’s high population growth projection of 10.8 billion people in 2050.
Task 4 The US government should support research initiatives that facilitate the integration of demographic factors into climate change research and modeling, as outlined above. In addition, the US government should support research initiatives that
- Quantify both the costs of providing universal access to voluntary family planning and reproductive health services and the benefits of such universal access, in terms of reducing future greenhouse gas emissions and human vulnerability to climate change impacts
- Highlight links among demographics, household income, consumption, and other socioeconomic factors as they relate to climate change
- Examine the connections among food security, biofuel development, and population dynamics in the context of climate change
- Explore the role of mitigation, both international and internal, in greenhouse gas emissions growth and human vulnerability to climate change impacts
Action 16: Urban Responses to Climate Change in Coastal Cities
All urban decision makers and planners must recognize the urgency of climate change on the local level. Communities must address the ongoing and escalating threat beginning now. In order to effect this kind of social change, educators, researchers, policymakers, and planners must recognize that local, individual, and institutional perception and response to climate change is both culturally dependent and culturally specific. Policymakers and advocates for change must engage the local culture; the deep change in thinking required to address climate change will come from within it.
Task 1 The National Flood Insurance Program should take into account the risks posed by climate change in urban areas.
Task 2 Project and program review criteria at federal, state, and local levels should include climate change impacts and vulnerabilities.
Task 3 The appropriate agencies should establish climate change-triggered threshold levels for existing critical infrastructure.
Task 4 Elected officials who make land use decisions should base these decisions on a long-term land use plan, design standards, and building codes that include vulnerability analysis, certified by a planner.
Task 5 The IPCC needs to develop userfriendly tools to improve access to information in the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) Web site so planners can incorporate climate scenario information into their decision-making tools.
Task 6 Funding agencies should support the scientific community in the incorporation of the socioeconomic side of local impacts into adaptation issues associated with climate change.
Task 7 University accreditation boards and professional accreditation boards in planning, architecture, and civil engineering should include an understanding of climate change mitigation and adaptation in their criteria for accreditation. This will require the development of education programs for professionals.
Task 8 Climate change scientists, professionals, and advocates must improve the way they communicate climate change and its urgency in order to make it locally relevant to schools, engineers, planners, and communities.
Task 9 City officials, planners, and decision makers should meet together regularly in informal social settings to exchange information and opinions on climate change as related to their responsibilities.
Action 17: Climate Change Adaptation for the Developing World—Expanding Africa’s Climate Change Resilience
The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC states that Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change and climate variability. Representatives from African and US-based research institutions, development institutions, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) need to identify the most salient research questions to improve Africa’s ability to cope with the projected impacts of climate change and develop the most practical solutions based on what we know to date.
Task 1 The appropriate international scientific and donor organizations should develop an international scientific research program to which governments, private entities, NGOs, and academics both in and out of Africa can contribute to develop fundamental natural science understanding for sustainable development (surficial geology, soil science, mineral resources, geochemistry, surface water and groundwater, land cover, ecology, biodiversity conservation, etc.). They should also develop greater understanding of climate change at the regional to local scale, including observations, models, and verification of models.
Task 2 International agencies and governments should support clean energy research and development — specifically solar, geothermal, and biofuel generation — at the regional level to expand energy access in Africa.
Task 3 Donors should support research on climate change impacts on water resources and infrastructure for water systems.
Task 4 Scientists should conduct research on relationships among population growth, demographic movements, urbanization and available agricultural land base, and carrying capacity, with multiple climate change scenarios, to advance climate change adaptation and technology.
Task 5 Funders should support outcomedirected research to enable climate change adaptation, and they should improve efficiency of projects based on African priorities.
Task 6 Researchers and policymakers should explore policy mechanisms to bridge the competition between short-term relief of food crises and longer-term rural development assistance in drought-prone countries.
Task 7 Agricultural development agencies should support research into the spread of nonnative agricultural crops.
Task 8 The World Bank and other development organizations should conduct research to understand how to implement microcredit programs and other credit vehicles in Africa with large and growing informal economies.
Task 9 International agencies and governments should expand training of African climate change scientists.
Task 10 Governments should support national educational programs to promote understanding of climate change and its impacts on natural and human systems at multiple levels and to promote career opportunities in solutions and sustainability.
Action 18: Coastal Management and Climate Change
State coastal management programs are on the front lines dealing with the impacts of climate change — sea level rise, dropping water levels in the Great Lakes, ocean acidification, and changes in temperature and precipitation patterns. The National Coastal Zone Management Program requires states to balance competing uses of the coastal zone and to address the full range of coastal issues, including managing development in high-hazard areas, protecting natural resources, providing public access, redeveloping urban waterfronts and ports, siting energy facilities, protecting coastal water quality, and ensuring that the public and local governments have a role in coastal decision making. This voluntary federal-state partnership was authorized under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972. Currently 34 states and territories participate in the program. In 1996, the CZMA was reauthorized, and Congress called for coastal states to anticipate and plan for global warming, which may result in a substantial sea level rise and fluctuating water level in the Great Lakes.
Task 1 Coastal management agencies should translate climate scenarios into best management practices for planning, regulation, and engineering.
Task 2 Congress and state governments should increase funding for coastal habitat restoration and address the long-term sustainability of restoration projects.
Task 3 The Coastal States Organization and state coastal management programs should initiate planning for regional adaptation to climate change.
Task 4 States and federal agencies should collaborate regionally to conduct a data inventory to identify data gaps relating to climate change and coastal environments and communities. They should also develop strategies to fill data gaps and disseminate data and information through a clearinghouse mechanism (e.g., a portal).
Task 5 The federal US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the Union of Concerned Scientists should synthesize IPCC information into more-relevant, regionally focused formats.
Task 6 The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Geological Survey (USGS), Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other federal agencies should develop integrated models that link climate to ocean and coastal processes and impacts.
Task 7 Academia should assist coastal managers in determining scenarios for land use planning, infrastructure, and habitat impacts.
Task 8 Home buyers, homeowners, and renters should be given information through printed and online resources about adverse effects and consequences of sea level rise and natural hazards.
Task 9 Congress should fund education programs supporting integrated natural science and public policy to develop and acquire curricula specific to regional climate impacts at kindergarten through university levels.
Task 10 States should set up speed-datinglike interfaces for scientists and managers to facilitate communication of needs and sharing of research results. http://coastalmanagement. noaa.gov; www.usgcrp.gov
Action 19: Forest Management and Climate Change
Forests in the United States are managed for many goals under diverse ownerships. Goals range from long-term environmental protection and biodiversity sustainability with new possibilities for carbon sequestration to short-term production of fiber and biomass with new possibilities of biomass energy. Adapting to climate change impacts and mitigating anthropogenic drivers of climate change will require new practices for the full range of forest management goals. The changing climate complicates forest management because sequestration and emissions goals are added to the more traditional goals of protection and production. Increased uncertainty about how forests are responding to climate change complicates management.
Task 1 Coordinate landowners and land management agencies on joint decision making about adaptation actions to address fragmentation of habitats and management.
Task 2 Federal agencies should incorporate field and monitoring data about all forest management into publicly available, Web-accessible databases.
Task 3 Economists should incorporate linkages among energy supply, demand, and policy into forest-sector models for carbon management.
Task 4 Government and academia should develop predictive tools and models for land managers that are designed to predict
- Climate change at regional and local scales
- Species shifts at regional and local scales
- The GHG implications of alternative forest management activities and strategies, including “no active management”
Note that the different groups will need different types of tactical and strategic information.
Task 5 Researchers should develop and evaluate options for facilitated adaptations to enhance ecosystem resilience to climate change.
Task 6 Climate impact modelers should develop “hot spot” analyses to help decision makers and stakeholders prioritize adaptation opportunities.
Task 7 Scientists should work across disciplines and with local communities to assess vulnerabilities and impacts, and they should develop integrated adaptation and mitigation strategies within local communities.
Task 8 Local and regional stakeholders should develop and implement a communications strategy and an educational strategy to engage all stakeholders in dialogue and action about the consequences of current land management and societal behaviors in the context of climate change.
Action 20: Climate Change, Wildlife Populations, and Disease Dynamics
Most scientific evidence related to climate change and its effects on biological organisms exists about plant species and vertebrate animals. Changes are occurring in terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems because of variability in climate. These changes will lead to further changes in wildlife diseases, vectors of disease, intermediate host alterations, and susceptibility to disease.
Task 1 Priority should be placed on filling these critical knowledge gaps in our understanding of climate change and wildlife diseases:
- Effects of invasive species
- Vector-borne diseases
- Rapid evolution of pathogens
- Host-species movement patterns
- Ecosystem fragmentation
- Seasonality of wildlife disease events
- Ecosystem dynamics
Task 2 These critical knowledge gaps could be filled through development and implementation of standardized data collection systems, to detect ecosystem changes, and development of models, to explain observed data trends and forecast future events.These data and models would then allow for development of risk assessment models.Existing scientific expertise is probably sufficient for organizing and analyzing data and for defining data needs, but dramatically more capacity is needed for data collection. This capacity could be expanded by training citizen-scientists, engaging citizen-based organizations, and engaging traditional and other local communities.
Task 3 It is critically necessary to expand resources to support research in and management of wildlife in the face of climate change, with increased funding from
- Federal and state government
- Private foundations
- Private industry and financial institutions like the World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO)
Task 4 Economic metrics are needed for the values of ecosystems and habitats.
Task 5 There should be a global ecosystem assessment based on these economic metrics as indicators of environmental health and resources. This information could be used by national policymakers around the world.
Task 6 There should be a concerted effort to enhance the education and awareness of the public about wildlife and climate change by
- Providing information for curriculum development in the nation’s schools
- Developing curricula based on information from professional societies (e.g., The Wildlife Society and the Wildlife Disease Association)
- Engaging state and tribal wildlife agencies to provide public programs on wildlife and climate change
- Engaging local media and organizations to provide a format for increased awareness
*FAO (2006) Livestock’s Long Shadow. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations www.fao.org.
This is a chapter from Climate Solutions Consensus.
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