Policy/Law

The US Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction

Source: 
Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER)
Year: 
2007
Abstract: 

This report presents a review of economic studies for the United States and relates them to predicted impacts of climate change. The summary findings are organized by region and identify the key sectors likely affected by climate change, the main impacts to be expected, as well as estimates of costs. The report builds on the 2000 Global Change Research Program National Assessment, using additional regional and local studies, as well as new calculations derived from federal, state and industry data sources. From this review and quantification, five key lessons emerge:

  1. Economic impacts of climate change will occurthroughout the country
  2. Economic impacts will be unevenly distributedacross regions and within the economy andsociety.
  3. Negative climate impacts will outweighbenefits for most sectors that provide essentialgoods and services to society.
  4. Climate change impacts will place immensestrains on public sector budgets.
  5. Secondary effects of climate impacts caninclude higher prices, reduced income and joblosses.
Author(s): 

Ruth, Matthias, Roy F. Weston, Dana Coelho, and Daria Karetnikov

Contact: 

cier at umd dot edu

Notes: 

The full report is available for free download at https://www.cier.umd.edu/climateadaptation/

Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making

Source: 
The National Academies Press
Year: 
2008
Abstract: 

Federal agencies have taken steps to include the public in a wide range of environmental decisions. Although some form of public participation is often required by law, agencies usually have broad discretion about the extent of that involvement. Approaches vary widely, from holding public information-gathering meetings to forming advisory groups to actively including citizens in making and implementing decisions.Proponents of public participation argue that those who must live with the outcome of an environmental decision should have some influence on it. Critics maintain that public participation slows decision making and can lower its quality by including people unfamiliar with the science involved.This book concludes that, when done correctly, public participation improves the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment. Well-managed public involvement also increases the legitimacy of decisions in the eyes of those affected by them, which makes it more likely that the decisions will be implemented effectively. This book recommends that agencies recognize public participation as valuable to their objectives, not just as a formality required by the law. It details principles and approaches agencies can use to successfully involve the public.

Author(s): 

Thomas Dietz and Paul C. Stern, Editors

Contact: 

To buy the book (paperback or pdf) go tohttps://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12434

Notes: 
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Threats to Imperiled Freshwater Fauna

Source: 
Conservation Biology
Volume: 
Vol 11. No 5
Year: 
1997
Abstract: 

Threats to imperiled freshwater fauna in the U.S. were assessed through an experts survey addressing anthropogenic stressors and their sources. Specifically, causes of historic declines and current limits to recovery were identified for 135 imperiled freshwater species of fishes, crayfishes, dragonflies and damselflies, mussels, and amphibians. The survey was designed to identify threats with sufficient specificity to inform resource managers and regulators faced with translating information about predominant biological threats into specific, responsive actions. The findings point to altered sediment loads and nutrient inputs from agricultural nonpoint pollution; interference from exotic species; and altered hydrologic regimes associated with impoundment operations as the three leading threats nationwide, accompanied by many lesser but still significant threats. Variations in threats among regions and among taxa were also evident. Eastern species are most commonly affected by altered sediment loads from agricultural activities, whereas exotic species, habitat removal/damage, and altered hydrologic regimes predominate in the West. Altered sediment loading from agricultural activities and exotic species are dominant problems for both eastern mussels and fishes. However, eastern fishes also appear to be suffering from municipal nonpoint pollution (nutrients and sediments), whereas eastern mussels appear to be more severely affected by altered nutrient impacts from hydroelectric impoundments and agricultural runoff. Our findings suggest that control of nonpoint source pollution associated with agriculture activities should be a very high priority for agricultural producers and governmental support programs. Additonally, the large number of hydropower dams in the U.S. subject to federal re-licensing in coming years suggests a significant opportunity to restore natural hydrologic regimes in the affected rivers.  

Author(s): 

Richter, Brian.D., David P. Braun, Michael A. Mendelson and Lawrence L. Master  

Contact: 
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A Framework for Ecologically Sustainable Water Management

Source: 
Hydro Review, HCI Publications
Year: 
2005
Abstract: 

Water managers face tough challenges in sustaining the healthand availability of rivers while meeting increasing demands fortheir use. One tool that can give hydro project owners guidanceis a six-step framework for ecologically sustainable water managementdeveloped by The Nature Conservancy.  

Author(s): 

Richter, Brian D., Richard Roos-Collins, and Andrew C. Fahlund

Contact: 
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