Mitigating & Adapting to Climate Change

Date: 2015 Description: European space scientists view the NASA data visualizations at the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. - State Dept Image
European Space Scientists View the NASA Data Visualizations European space scientists view the NASA data visualizations at the U.S. Center at the 18th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-18) in Doha, Qatar, November 30, 2012

Our generation may be judged, in no small part, by our response to climate change. One scientific assessment after another has provided unequivocal evidence that the global climate is changing at an accelerating rate, and that the primary cause of the change is human activity. The planet’s ten hottest years on record have occurred since 1998; 2014 was the hottest year yet. If strong action is not taken soon, global temperatures will continue to climb precipitously in the years and decades ahead.

The United States can lead the transition to a cleaner, more energy-efficient global economy and help to lay the foundation for a climate-resilient world, with benefits lasting centuries. With smart policy choices and development investments, we can mitigate the negative impacts of climate change, while also decreasing the incidence of pulmonary disease and cancers, creating jobs, increasing agricultural productivity, alleviating hunger and poverty, and strengthening overall resilience. By 2040, according to International Energy Agency projections, investment in the global energy market sector is expected to reach $20 trillion, offering a clear opportunity for clean energy and other American companies.

“Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy… [n]o single country causes climate change, and no one country can stop it. But we need to match the urgency of our response with the scale of the science. The U.S. is meeting the challenge through President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and we’re committed to reaching an ambitious agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions with other countries in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

– Secretary Kerry, Statement on Release of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 2 Report, March 2014


To advance our climate change objectives, we will:

  • Strengthen climate diplomacy and development. We will deploy greater expertise in addressing climate change and promoting clean-energy-technology solutions at priority posts, strengthen climate expertise in the Department’s regional bureaus, and direct all Department and USAID bureaus and offices to designate personnel to serve as climate change leaders.
  • Strengthen staff understanding of and engagement in climate issues. We will educate all of our staff on climate-related issues, incorporating climate-related knowledge into the core competencies for Department and USAID officers.
  • Integrate climate change into all of our diplomacy and development efforts. We will accelerate the integration of climate change mitigation and resilience throughout our policy, programming, and operations, including the development of systems to assess and adjust for climate change impacts in compliance with Executive Order 13677 on Climate-Resilient International Development.
  • Designate critical countries for in-depth climate engagement. We will intensify our engagement with countries that are the most vulnerable to climate-related challenges, with those that have key roles to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and with those that can influence neighboring countries to meet international climate goals.
  • Expand climate and clean energy diplomacy beyond capitals. We will complement crucial climate negotiations between nation-states with direct engagement with mayors, governors, faith leaders, women’s groups, and business leaders. We will seek their support in making commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.