Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Virginia has undertaken a variety of actions to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gasses and adapt to climate related changes to our weather, wildlife, and sea level. However, these changes have not been undertaken in a coordinated fashion, nor have they been in clear response to the recommendations of any entity that has approached the problem of climate change as a whole. Greenhouse gas mitigation has taken place in the form of a few policies to capture landfill gas, encourage limited energy efficiency, encourage growth of some renewable energy, and reduce vehicle miles traveled. Additionally, good progress has been made in encouraging natural carbon sinks and increased forest land and land in agricultural production. The bulk of carbon reduction strategies suggested by prior commissions and reports were not implemented. Adaptation efforts have been more robust. Data collection has been steady and multiple entities including the Secure Commonwealth Panel, the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Coastal Policy Clinic at William & Mary Law School, Old Dominion University’s Whole of Government effort, and many others have all been working to address the challenges of adaptation. These efforts have been fruitful individually but disjointed without a central coordinating body or figure. While opinions tend differ among stakeholders, there are areas of consensus among nearly all groups who have studied the state’s options and made recommendations for future action related to climate change. The consensus recommendations fall into six categories: 1) Identify a single entity to lead VA activities related to Climate Change; 2) Establish a state requirement for climate impact review; 3) Support local governments by establishing clear guidance on authority and liability related to climate adaptation; 4) Develop funding resources to support these efforts; 5) Continue to develop and improve available data; and 6) Conduct widespread and effective climate outreach. These consensus recommendations likely present an excellent starting point for the work of the Climate Change and Resiliency Commission’s work.
climate change, adaptation, land use planning, virginia, policy
Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. (2014) Virginia Accomplishments Since the 2008 Climate Action Plan Release. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. https://doi.org/10.21220/V5M16K