Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Adaptation, according to the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. has a concise page on adaptation to climate change. One useful section: Illustrative examples of potential adaptation measures in different sectors include the following:

Human Health
* Many diseases and health problems that may be exacerbated by climate change can be effectively prevented with adequate financial and human public health resources, including training, surveillance and emergency response, and prevention and control programs.
* Urban tree planting to moderate temperature increases
* Weather advisories to alert the public about dangerous heat conditions…

Coastal Areas and Sea Level Rise
* Developing county-scale maps depicting which areas will require shore protection (e.g. dikes, bulkheads, beach nourishment) and which areas will be allowed to adapt naturally
* Analyzing the environmental consequences of shore protection
* Promoting shore protection techniques that do not destroy all habitat
* Identifying land use measures to ensure that wetlands migrate as sea level rises in some areas
* Engaging state and local governments in defining responses to sea level rise

Agriculture and Forestry
* Altering the timing of planting dates to adapt to changing growing conditions
* Altering cropping mix and forest species that are better suited to the changing climatic conditions
* Breeding new plant species and crops that are more tolerant to changed climate condition
* Promoting fire suppression practices in the event of increased fire risk due to temperature increases

Ecosystems and Wildlife
* Protecting and enhancing migration corridors to allow species to migrate as the climate changes
* Identifying management practices that will ensure the successful attainment of conservation and management goals
* Promoting management practices that confer resilience to the ecosystem

Water Resources
* Altering infrastructure or institutional arrangements
* Changing demand or reducing risk
* Improving water use efficiency, planning for alternative water sources (such as treated wastewater), and making changes to water allocation

* Increasing energy efficiency to offset increases in energy consumption due to warming
* Protecting facilities against extreme weather events
* Diversifying power supply in the event of power plant failures due to excess demand created by extreme heat, or by extreme weather events

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