Members of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP) applaud the introduction of the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (NCARS). This is a highly functional piece of legislation that would end the ad hoc nature of climate adaptation planning at the national level and form a dependable and consistent basis for us to build a more resilient country. If Congress enacts this legislation, the U.S. will move from relying on a series of individual agency activities authorized through executive action alone to a stable, long-term, coherent national strategy to ensure climate change preparedness. This is critical, both for communities at the forefront of climate change who are feeling impacts now as well as to address the needs of future generations.
NCARS is particularly promising because: 1) it builds on existing national and sub-national adaptation and resilience efforts and 2) the legislation itself is adaptive.
- NCARS recognizes that adaptation practitioners and frontline communities across the country have been planning and implementing adaptation for a long time. It creates a pathway to bring that wisdom to the national adaptation strategy through well-structured working groups and councils. ASAP applauds the emphasis on the importance of input from outside the federal government and the mechanisms the bill creates for that.
- NCARS is simultaneously specific and flexible, maximizing its potential for effectiveness in an uncertain future. The specificity of the actions required by the Working Groups and Partners Council, and the detailed account of what would be included in the NCARO Report and the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy, ensure an inclusive and complete process for national-level climate adaptation planning. Meanwhile, the flexibility NCARS affords on how to proceed toward potential solutions and action allows for adaptive management and the ability to engage in or avoid specific actions based on current or expected future conditions. Finally, mandating reports on a quadrennial basis promotes consistent reporting and a set, recurring engagement process for non-federal actors.
ASAP calls on Congress to pass this bill as soon as possible. It is going to take time to develop a national adaptation strategy. Getting the process underway by expeditiously passing this legislation will materially impact how the US is able to adapt and increase the resilience of communities in both the short and long term. Further, passing this legislation will support the creation of thousands of jobs by signaling predictable federal support for climate change adaptation work, encouraging employers across all sectors and industries to hire workers to implement climate adaptation actions across the nation.
ASAP wishes to call particular attention to:
- The bill’s requirement to develop not only a national adaptation strategy but also an implementation plan and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. These components are critical to achieving equitable and effective adaptation outcomes at the pace and scale needed.
- Mechanisms to ensure that justice and equity remain at the center of national action under this legislation. This includes, first and foremost, centering the needs and experiences of underserved frontline communities. It also requires using the plans and recommendations that the bill mandates to critically assess policy and programmatic adjustments needed to improve the equitability and efficacy of the agency’s services and resources for climate adaptation and resilience.
- The need to ensure adequate appropriations. In particular, The positions of CRO and Executive Secretary need to be appropriated, not paid by home agencies. Appropriations should also be made to support members of the Working Group and Partners Council so as to not create unfunded mandates to the agencies or add additional burden to non-federal partners.
Congress should swiftly pass this bill and achieve an enormous step forward in preparing the U.S. for the impacts of climate change.
Read the press release announcing the bill here.
Contact: Rachel Jacobson, firstname.lastname@example.org | 617-520-4339