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Interior Launches Coordinated Climate Change Strategy

Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar last week launched a coordinated strategy to address climate change science and resource management strategies. The move came as prospects to pass federal climate change legislation this year appeared to dim (see related story).

Salazar's secretarial order establishes a framework through which DOI's bureaus will work together, building on a DOI order issued in March, which made renewable energy a top priority for the department (see NGI, March 16).

"Across the country, Americans are experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change, from growing pressure on water supplies to more intense droughts and fires to rampant bark beetle infestations," said Salazar. "Because Interior manages one-fifth of our nation's landmass and 1.7 billion acres on the Outer Continental Shelf, it is imperative that we tackle these impacts of a failed and outdated energy policy. This secretarial order is another milestone in our continuing effort to change how Interior does business to respond to the energy and climate challenges of our time."

Under the framework:

"The unprecedented scope of climate change impacts requires Interior bureaus and agencies to work together, and with other federal, state, tribal and local governments and private landowner partners, to develop landscape-level strategies for understanding and responding to climate change impacts," said Salazar.

In addition to coordinating DOI's response to the impacts of climate change, the Climate Change Response Council would oversee the DOI Carbon Storage Project, through which DOI is developing carbon storage methodologies for geological (i.e., underground) and biological (e.g., forests and rangelands) projects. The council also would oversee the DOI Carbon Footprint Project, through which Interior is developing a unified greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program, which includes setting a baseline and reduction goal for GHG emissions and energy use.

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