The Obama administration is pushing ahead with its vow to mitigate the effects of climate change. Today, the US government announced plans to create seven "climate hubs" that will offer information and resources to communities in rural regions across the country.
Specific details on the hubs are slim for now, but each one will be tailored to a specific region's climate-related challenges — such as water shortages, forest fires, pests, or floods. The hubs, which will be overseen by the US Department of Agriculture, are largely zeroing in on farming and ranching. In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that the hubs will help ensure that "agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate."
"Adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate."
The hubs will be located in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, and New Mexico. Smaller hubs (referred to by officials as "sub hubs") will be developed in additional states including California and Michigan. Each hub will conduct research on region-specific risks of climate change, and then offer guidance to locals on how best to address these environmental changes.
The announcement comes on the heels of Obama's remarks at the State of the Union, where he stated that "climate change is a fact" and vowed to introduce new initiatives that bypassed Congressional approval. It also follows an executive order, issued late last year, directing government agencies to develop plans for managing climate change. And, as recent years indicate, these hubs are sorely needed: between 2011 and 2013, the US government estimates that drought cost the economy $50 billion, largely in agricultural losses.