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Lending Federal Support as Communities Prepare for Impacts of Climate Change

Last week the Administration released a report that outlines how the Federal Government is expanding and strengthening the Nation's capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to the risks associated with climate change. From the Federal Government's perspective, adapting to the impacts of a changing climate is simply responsible risk management. Working together, communities and the Federal Government can reduce long-term risks and costs, including from projected increases in extreme weather events.

Here's what others have to say about the importance of this interagency work to build resilience and protect people, property and economies across the country:

Mayor Mark Mallory, Cincinnati, OH
"Climate scientists tell us that Cincinnati will experience more frequent and more severe storms as a result of climate change. More frequent and more severe summer heat waves are expected as well. The Cincinnati region is just beginning to identify the things that we will need to do to be prepared for these weather changes. Just like cities plan for natural disasters or outbreaks of the flu, we need to prepare for the effects of climate change."

Aaron N Durnbaugh, Climate Adaptation Coordinator, City of Chicago
"As a local government working to prepare our city, citizens and natural resources for a changing climate, the City of Chicago is encouraged to see the coordinated federal climate action presented in the 2011 progress report. The federal efforts supporting cities including building local resilience and making climate science accessible, will create the resilient, healthy and prosperous City envisioned by the Chicago Climate Action Plan and, in turn, the resilient nation envisioned by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force."

Mark Tercek, President and CEO, Nature Conservancy
"We commend the Administration's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force on continued progress toward preparing our nation for coping with the impacts of climate change. We're pleased that the Administration continues to emphasize the essential role natural systems play in protecting Americans from climate impacts. As just one example, our barrier islands and floodplains have protected America's communities from storms for millennia and we need to ensure they continue to do so."

Laura Spanjian, Sustainability Director, City of Houston
"The City of Houston is beginning to implement adaptation strategies and tools to address the impacts and risks associated with climate changes that affect Houston's water resources and coastal zones, among other systems. Sustained funding from federal agencies will help cities employ proactive measures, instead of only short-term reactive measures that are detrimental to human livelihood, as well as being cost-prohibitive."

Brian Holland, Director of Climate Programs, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA
"The Council on Environmental Quality's Progress Report on Adaptation demonstrates the success achieved by federal agencies in building resilience in partnership with local communities. In working with our 550 local government members in the US, ICLEI has clearly identified a need for local-federal climate collaboration and has seen critical federal resources in action. This report lays the groundwork for continued partnership with the cities and counties that are on the front lines of extreme weather events and climate resilience."

J. Wayne Leonard, CEO, Entergy Corporation
"A meaningful discussion on climate change cannot stop at mitigation. The solutions must also include adapting to and resilience against its most negative consequences. Today's report recognizes that the livelihoods of people living in coastal communities, the sustainability of rich natural resources that support our economy and the security of residential, commercial and industrial assets are at great risk if we don't devise and implement plans to protect against, and recover from, the adverse effects associated with climate change."

Bennett Freeman, Vice President for Sustainability and Research, Calvert Investments
"Investing in climate preparations can create American jobs at home and spur exports abroad. We support efforts by the Administration to prepare for and respond to climate change impacts in vulnerable communities." 

Jim Taft, Executive Director, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators
"ASDWA appreciates the efforts of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force in developing this Action Plan. We believe the six principal recommendations of the Action Plan (along with the various supporting actions) are sound and appropriate. In particular, the call for the compilation of the best available data/information, coupled with use of appropriate decision-making tools will be of considerable benefit to drinking water utilities as they consider meeting both the quantity and quality challenges posed by a changing climate. We also support the holistic approach to this challenge under the banner of integrated water resources management (e.g., promoting both efficient use of currently available water resources as well as careful consideration of future water resources). The Action Plan should prove beneficial to both drinking water utilities and state drinking water programs as they consider their future roles and actions."

Paul Fleming, Manager, Climate & Sustainability Group, Seattle Public Utilities
"Identifying, assessing and managing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change is not just about understanding the physical impacts of climate change, but also the managerial, technical and policy implications. From strengthening data observation systems, to calling for stronger coordination between federal and local governments to promoting flexible decision making, the National Action Plan reflects the multi-dimensional nature of the intersection between climate change and water."

Ken Kirk, Executive Director, National Association of Clean Water Agencies
"Climate change will affect water more than any other resource, and NACWA commends CEQ for recognizing the challenges facing wastewater utilities in adapting to and in mitigating the impacts of climate change. NACWA is especially pleased that CEQ recognizes the importance of integrated water resources management for managing these impacts, and the need for improved data to enable utilities to make better long-term decisions in the face of climate change. With utilities facing huge financial challenges as a result of the economic downturn, studies that help in planning for the additional costs and investment that climate change will necessitate are particularly helpful."

Susan Ruffo is Deputy Director for Climate Change Adaptation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality