Spotlight Activity: EPA Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center
The United States does not have an official, federal-level climate change adaptation policy. Rather, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a series of guidelines for states, cities, towns, and businesses to create their own climate adaptation plans. The Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X), run by the EPA, provides information including tools to identify the risks posed by climate change to specific regions; relevant adaptation strategies; case studies illustrating how other communities have successfully adapted to those risks and tools to replicate their successes; and EPA funding opportunities.
Where climate adaptation policies are already being put in place, cities at particular risk to heat-related effects of climate change or sea level rise are leading the charge. Coastal cities, including Boston, Massachusetts, and Tampa, Florida, have invested in raised wastewater infrastructure to prevent future flooding from storm surge and sea level rise. Midwestern cities and counties, at the greatest risk for heat-related effects, have created emergency response plans to provide cooling centers and free transportation to and from these centers during extremely hot days. Policymakers in counties in Minnesota, specifically Olmsted County, have combined resources from the EPA with their own research and policy expertise to tailor the adaptation plans specifically to the needs of their community.
Status: Standing Still
Many of the cities and states that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are taking decisive actions to protect the health and safety of their citizens in the long term. The EPA’s tool to help cities plan these actions is extremely important to facilitating this planning. However, without a unifying policy from the federal government, many vulnerable areas – particular areas with poorer minority populations – are left out of the planning process.
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Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Phone: (202) 564-4700 or 202-564-1137
Mail: USEPA Headquarters
William Jefferson Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Mail Code: 1101A
Washington, DC 20460