Climate Change: Observations on Federal Efforts to Adapt to a Changing Climate, Statement of John Stephenson, Director National Resources and Environment, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Emery and Environment, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 193KB]

"Changes in the climate attributable to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases may have significant environmental and economic impacts in the United States. For example, climate change could threaten coastal areas with rising sea levels, alter agricultural productivity, and increase the intensity and frequency of floods and storms. Federal, state, and local agencies are tasked with a wide array of responsibilities that will be affected by a changing climate, such as managing natural resources. Furthermore, climate change could increase the cost of federal programs, such as crop and flood insurance, and place new stresses on infrastructure. Greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will continue altering the climate system into the future regardless of emissions control efforts. Therefore, adaptation- defined as adjustments to natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate change-is an important part of the response to climate change. This testimony summarizes GAO's prior and ongoing work examining (1) actions that federal, state, local, and international authorities are taking to adapt to a changing climate, (2) the challenges that federal, state, and local officials face in their efforts to adapt, and (3) actions that the Congress and federal agencies could take to help address these challenges."

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