More than a year after Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne appointed a task force to look into the consequences of climate change on public lands, including national parks, the committee has released three reports examining that topic.
"More than 100 Interior employees participated on this task force, comprising more than 1,000 years of experience. They are biologists, hydrologists, engineers, lawyers, land managers," Secretary Kempthorne said Wednesday. "They work in the field, in our regions, and in Washington. Through our Climate Change Task Force, we are illuminating our biggest challenges, prioritizing our actions, and coordinating with the USGS and the broader scientific community to identify prudent response strategies."
The reports address:
* Land & Water Management. A subcommittee worked to identify potential issues and challenges facing the Department of the Interior as a consequence of climate change and to suggest possible options for addressing them.
* Law & Policy. This subcommittee worked to identify the legal and policy issues facing the DOI and to suggest possible options for addressing them.
* Science. This subcommittee worked to identify the science and information needed to assist the DOI in addressing the consequences of climate change and to suggest possible options for getting the needed science.
The three Draft DOI Climate Change Task Force subcommittee reports highlight a series of questions and issues (and options for addressing them) that may become increasingly important as a result of climate change. These reports do not contain budget proposals nor provide legal advice. To the extent that such advice or proposals are warranted, they will be developed by the proper bodies using the appropriate procedures in the future.
In addition, the reports are the product of numerous discussions by the members of the subcommittees and are presented in a fashion to organize the material while maintaining the dynamics of subcommittee participation. As such, the drafts do not attempt to prioritize the information presented either by the order of presentation or the length of the presentation associated with any particular issue, option, or grouping of information.
DOI is making the draft reports of these three subcommittees available to the public on this website as part of an informal information exchange and review process. Although this is not a formal administrative process, DOI would appreciate constructive observations on these draft reports and whether any major challenges, issues or options were not considered.
The reports include more than 80 options on how the department could prepare and respond to climatic changes on the lands it manages. You can find links to the three reports at this site, along with links to make any comments.
Along with making the reports available to the public, Secretary Kempthorne has directed that the position of Climate Change Coordinator be created within the Interior Department's Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance. The position will serve as the central clearing house within the Department for questions and practices relating to Climate Change.
Further, the secretary has directed that a Climate Change Advisory Council, made up of assistant secretaries and bureau directors, be created within the department. The council will meet monthly to discuss the impact and response to climate change across the department and to exchange ideas and suggestions for how best to deal with a changing landscape.