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Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: December 2013

The Monthly Review is part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy. Current and archived monthly reviews are available online.

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Federal Agencies & Administration

  • National Academies report on the impacts of climate change

The National Academies Press released a new report, “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises,” providing an updated overview of the potential effects of climate change.

The report focuses on high impact events, identifies key vulnerabilities, and advocates for the development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System in order to effectively anticipate and respond to these disasters when, the report argues, they occur.

To read the full report click here.

Sources: National Academies Pres

  • DOI plans to reduce energy consumption, use clean energy

This December, the Department of the Interior (DOI) released its 2013 Sustainability Plan, which aims to cut energy use and waste throughout the Department.  The plan responds to President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the impacts of climate change, and to Executive Order 13514, issued in 2009, which requires agencies to improve energy efficiency and conservation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The plan notes the challenges of dealing with DOI’s many older buildings and the issue of financing improvements, nonetheless the Department is on track to meet targets such as reducing petroleum and water use.

President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on December 5, 2013, directing agencies to acquire 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Renewable sources accounted for 8.6% of DOI’s electricity in FY 2012.

Sources: DOI, White House
  • Interior awards $7M for climate science research

The Department of the Interior announced that it will award an additional $7 million in funding for climate change research. The grants, which are managed by eight regional Climate Science Centers, will fund 50 new research projects at universities and other partners for research. Projects include: determining species, habitats and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change and ways to make them more resilient; projecting climate change effects on stream flow and fish in different parts of the country; building science-based models to help land managers in different regions better focus their effort s; informing coastal conservation and restoration in the northern Gulf of Mexico; and studying issues such as fire and climate change, sea-level rise, coastal change, and effects of drought on fish and wildlife. This effort is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to mitigate and prepare for climate change impacts.

Sources: USGS, DOI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monthly Review prepared by: Maeve Boland, Geoscience Policy Director; Abby Seadler, Geoscience Policy Associate; and Sophia Ford, AGI/AAPG Fall Intern.

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Compiled December 11, 2013

 

 

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