U.S. Begins Climate Change Initiative

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) — The United States has launched a coordinated strategy to study the effects of climate change on its natural resources, an Obama administration official says.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a release Monday he has ordered that the effort include probes of how global warming is affecting the country’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife and cultural resources.

“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,” Salazar said. “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and 1.7 billion acres on the Outer Continental Shelf, it is imperative that we tackle these impacts of a failed and outdated energy policy.”

Under the new policy, the Interior Department will establish a Climate Change Response Council led by the secretary to coordinate its response to climate change and among its bureaus. Its task, Salazar said, will be to improve the sharing of climate change impact science.

The order also creates a network of “conservation cooperatives” to “craft practical, landscape-level strategies for managing climate change impacts within the eight regions.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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