Two federal agencies announce plans to address climate change

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Two government agencies recently released plans to deal with climate change, which could affect hydroelectric facilities in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation released its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Nov. 5. This strategy provides a framework in which Reclamation managers can develop and adopt innovative solutions that provide a more reliable water supply in a changing climate.

The strategy addresses four primary goals to improve Reclamation’s ability to consider climate change information in its decision-making:

* Increase water management flexibility

* Enhance climate adaptation planning

* Improve infrastructure resiliency

* Expand information sharing

The strategy identifies new activities to extend climate change adaptation efforts across Reclamation’s mission responsibilities, including immediate and longer-term actions addressing each of the four goals. For each goal, a priority action is also identified to emphasize activities that will provide critical support for the goal.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the U.S. and the country’s second largest producer of hydroelectric power.

The report is available here.

The U.S. Department of Energy released plans Oct. 31 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change impacts, such as flooding, sea level rise, severe weather and temperature extremes.

The Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan and Climate Change Adaptation Plan coincide with the fifth anniversary of President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order on Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. This executive order set aggressive energy, climate and environmental targets for agencies. The plans detail how DOE’s actions have already contributed to reducing the federal government’s GHG emissions by more than 17% since 2008.

The Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan outlines the steps DOE plans to take to integrate sustainability into all aspects of its mission. The Climate Change Adaption Plan serves as a tool to guide DOE’s response to the changing climate.

In the Climate Change Adaption Plan, DOE says, “Increased ambient temperatures and potential for drought may also affect the DOE Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) through impact to operations at federal hydroelectric facilities.”

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