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February 10, 2014

Obama Administration Takes on Environmental Issues with Climate Hubs

President Barack Obama has been repeatedly tested on his climate change stance since taking office, but he has made some significant progress over the last six months or so in this area. Most recently, the White House detailed plans to establish seven regional hubs that will help Americans mitigate climate change.

These centers, which the administration is officially calling “climate hubs,” will be overseen by the Department of Agriculture and are meant to study fires, invasive pests, flooding and droughts. Using the research gathered through these studies, the hubs will then provide guidance for farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to help them cope with problems.

“Climate hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions, so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.

Roughly six months ago, the Obama administration released a new set of executive actions meant to curb carbon emissions, build stronger and safer infrastructure for withstanding extreme weather, and lead international efforts to fight global warming. Indeed, these three primary goals were the three pillars upon which Obama’s overall climate change plan would rest.

It would seem that these new climate hubs, which were first brought up by Vilsack last year, fall under the second pillar as they underscore the need for farmers, ranchers and foresters to adapt to climate change, in turn protecting key resources. This pillar also includes the reinforcement of roads, bridges and shorelines, as well as the removal of counterproductive policies that increase vulnerabilities.

Climate change hubs have been formally announced in Ames, Iowa; Durham, N.H.; Raleigh, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; El Reno, Okla.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Las Cruces, N.M. Meanwhile, three subsidiary hubs will be established in Houghton, Mich.; Pio Piedras, Puerto Rico; and Davis, Calif. These will focus on “narrower issues” than the main hubs.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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