In many places, climate change already is being felt; there is no longer much doubt that it will require societies to adapt to a range of impacts. While the mitigation of global warming must remain the primary long-term goal, the impacts of a warming planet are already being felt by societies around the world. Adaptation policy and planning will play a key role in minimizing damage caused by sea level rise, droughts, altered agriculture patterns, extreme weather events, and invasive species, among others.
Clean Air-Cool Planet believes that it is necessary to address existing and projected impacts in a way that expands the consensus for national and global emissions reduction efforts. Understanding the steps that will have to be taken to maintain the environmental and economic sustainability of communities in the Arctic will provide valuable insights into adaptation issues more generally. Clean Air-Cool Planet is also working with Congressional leaders to establish a framework for federal natural resource agencies, such as the National Park Service, to assess impacts of climate change on our natural resources and to develop appropriate responses. Given the important management role that federal agencies play in Alaskan natural resource conservation, such an approach would have important ramifications in the management of America’s Arctic.