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Climate Change: Observations on Federal Efforts to Adapt to a Changing Climate: Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives
John B. Stephenson (au)
Changes in the climate attributable to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases may have significant environmental and economic impacts in the U.S. For ex., climate change could threaten coastal areas with rising sea levels, alter agricultural productivity, and increase the intensity and frequency of floods and storms. Fed., 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 fed. 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 fed., state, local, and internat. authorities are taking to adapt to a changing climate, (2) the challenges that fed., state, and local officials face in their efforts to adapt, and (3) actions that the Congress and fed. agencies could take to help address these challenges. Illus.
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