Friday, February 8, 2013

Comments Needed by April 8 on USDA Climate Change Plan

Information from the USDA:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has prepared it 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that outlines how the department plans to save taxpayer dollars, reduce carbon emissions, cut waste and save energy.

 As part of this effort, this year USDA also has prepared a Climate Change Adaptation Plan that outlines how the department will address the impacts of climate change on its key mission areas such as agricultural production, food security, rural development, and forestry and natural resources conservation. The plan is available and open for a 60-day public comment period.

The USDA Climate Change Adaptation Plan includes input from 11 USDA agencies and offices.  It provides a detailed vulnerability assessment, reviews the elements of USDA’s mission that are at risk from climate change, and provides specific actions and steps being taken to build resilience to climate change.

The plan comes out before President Barack Obama’s effort to prepare the federal government for climate change.

The USDA expects to revise and update the plan in 2013 in response to comments received from the public.
All comments are due by April 8. The plan can be seen at
All comments are to be directed to William Hohenstein, director of USDA’s Climate Change Program Office, at

The plan provides a review of past performance, addresses challenges to achieving sustainability, discusses lessons learned, and outlines actions planned beyond 2012. The plan also highlights the following achievements within USDA:
  • Purchase and generation of enough green power to meet 19.5 percent of the Department’s electricity use, thus improving the Department’s ranking to number seven on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the largest Federal agency users of green power
  • 12.1 percent reduction in indirect greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2008 base year.
  • 21.8 percent reduction in energy intensity compared to the 2003 base year.
  • Implementation of the National Water Quality Initiative in priority watersheds to improve water quality and aquatic habitat in impaired streams.
  • 97 percent increase in alternative fuel consumption (for fleet vehicles) compared to the 2005 base year.
  • Acquisition of 75 percent of covered light duty and mid-sized alternative fuel vehicles.
  • 18.9 percent reduction in potable water use compared to the 2007 base year.

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