US environment agency releases first climate adaptation plan

For the first time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has publicly released a draft plan on how the department’s programmes will adapt to global warming, in a move that could lay additional groundwork for important new emissions rulemaking the agency may announce in coming months.

The EPA is tasked with oversight of the health of both human communities and natural systems, mandated with creating and implementing standards relating to air and water quality, among others. As such, the agency has emerged at the frontlines of Washington’s attempts to push through stricter climate-related regulations while circumventing the U.S. Congress, which remains fractious and politicised over the reality of human responsibility for global warming.

“We’re happy the government is finally waking up to the cold, hard reality of climate change and seeing its impacts,” Elizabeth Perera, a Washington climate policy expert with the Sierra Club, an environment advocacy group, told IPS.

“The more real and specific that you can talk about these impacts, the more we think there will be a fire lit under the government to do something on the action side. On climate change, you have to remember, we’re talking about major costs across all parts of the government and economy.”

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