Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change
Due to increased concentrations of GHGs already accumulated in the atmosphere, Washington will likely face impacts to our forests, agriculture, snowpack, coasts, infrastructure, fisheries, and other natural resources that are vital for our economy, communities, and environment. The extent and duration of these impacts will largely be determined by our collective success in reducing future emissions of GHGs.
Many of these challenges created by changing climate and environmental conditions are similar to those we have been wrestling with for decades – water supply and quality, ecosystem health, air quality, and shoreline and habitat protection and restoration. But the rate and severity of the changes we are likely to witness in the coming years will be unlike anything Washingtonians have ever experienced. State agencies, tribal governments, and counties and cities have been developing actions plans to address and adapt to the changing climate. Ecology along with other state agencies has started planning for the impacts of climate change by developing an Integrated Climate Change Response Strategy.
In 2009, the Washington State Legislature approved the State Agency Climate Leadership Act SB 5560, which included provisions in sections 10 through 13 for the formation of an “integrated climate change response strategy” to “better enable state and local agencies, public and private businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals to prepare for, address, and adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
The Department of Ecology is currently working on developing a central clearinghouse for relevant scientific and technical information about the impacts of climate change on Washington's ecology, economy, and society.
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.