EPA Launches ARC-X – ‘One Stop’ Climate Change Adaptation Website

By Penny Starr | October 7, 2016 | 1:38 PM EDT

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday launched a new website, the Adaption Resource Center or ARC-X, to help leaders of “the nation’s 40,000 communities with information and tools to increase resilience to climate change.”

“Recent statistics from the Office of Management and Budget show the federal government has incurred more than $357 billion in direct costs due to extreme weather and fire alone over the last 10 years,” a press release announcing the website stated. “Climate change is also expected to pose significant financial and infrastructural challenges to communities in coming decades.

“EPA designed ARC-X to help all local government official address these challenges – from those with extensive experience and expertise dealing with the impacts of climate change, to those working in underserved communities who are just beginning to meet those challenges,” the press release stated.

“From floods and droughts to dangerous heat islands and other public health effects, communities are facing the very real impacts of climate change,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in the press release. “ARC-X is a powerful new tool that can help local governments continue to deliver reliable, cost-effective services even as the climate changes.”

In a video on the new website, Joel Scheraga, EPA senior advisor for climate adaptation, said the interactive nature of the new site allows visitors to get information “tailored specifically for your needs.”

The website summarizes the impact of climate change in the region you pick, for example, the northeastern United States.

“The Northeast is projected to experience increased precipitation, more frequent and intense storms, and higher average temperatures. These projected changes pose challenges to communities as they protect water and waste infrastructure, maintain water quality, and protect air quality and public health. Many communities are building resilience to the risks they face under current climatic conditions.”

But no matter what region one picks, the information about climate change and “sea level rise,” for example, leads to a generic page on that topic. The same is true if one picks “extreme heat” or another “area of interest.”

For information specific to each state, the website links visitors to a PDF explaining how that state is being affected by climate change, and most of the states and territories include this information:

“Our climate is changing because the earth is warming. People have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by 40 percent since the late 1700s. Other heat-trapping greenhouse gases are also increasing. These gases have warmed the surface and lower atmosphere of our planet about one degree (F) during the last 50 years. Evaporation increases as the atmosphere warms, which increases humidity, average rainfall, and the frequency of heavy rainstorms in many places—but contributes to drought in others.”

And many of the states include this information:

“Greenhouse gases are also changing the world’s oceans and ice cover. Carbon dioxide reacts with water to form carbonic acid, so the oceans are becoming more acidic. The surface of the ocean has warmed about one degree during the last 80 years. Warming is causing snow to melt earlier in spring, and mountain glaciers are retreating. Even the great ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are shrinking. Thus the sea is rising at an increasing rate.”

For information specific to each region of the country, the website provides a link to the 841-page, 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment, which “summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

“A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences,” the website stated.

The website also links to “EPA funding opportunities.”

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