The EPA wants to help 40,000 communities across the U.S. adapt to extreme weather caused by climate change by giving them better information, an agency official said Jan. 9.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants to provide communities with the tools to make good climate adaptation decisions, but doesn’t want to “tell them what to do,” said Joel Scheraga, the agency’s senior adviser for climate change adaptation, speaking at the National Council for Science and Environment annual conference in Washington.
The announcement to help communities deal with climate change comes even as the EPA has been at the forefront of Trump administration efforts to roll back regulations curbing greenhouse gas emissions, which are the primary cause of climate change.
The EPA is teaming up with the council and universities to bring locally tailored tools designed by the agency’s Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center, known as ARC-X, to communities across the country that don’t have the resources or expertise to find ways to adapt to weather extremes driven by global warming.
‘Deep Dive’ Into Local Efforts
ARC-X has been around for years, but has lacked the ability to give cities and towns a “deep dive” into local adaptation recommendations, Scheraga said.
The idea for the NCSE partnership, Scheraga said, is to bring resources on adaptation to communities that are overwhelmed with information, “much of which is irrelevant to their community.” The agency is creating state and local area-specific climate adaptation information distributed to local governments via host universities nationwide.
The system is nonprescriptive, Scheraga said, adding that it won’t tell cities how they must adapt, only how to make informed decisions.
“Our goal is to see ARC-X in all 50 states and territories by the end of the year,” NCSE Executive Director Michelle Wyman said at the conference.
The EPA’s recent efforts to roll back regulations include automobile tailpipe emissions limits and the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which for the first time sought to cut emissions from the power sector.