Public review of administration’s Fourth U.S. Climate Action Report until May 18

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On May 4 the State Department issued for public review a draft of the U.S. Fourth Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with a deadline of noon, May 18, for submitting comments.  This report, which is already 16 months beyond its original deadline for fulfilling a U.S. commitment under the climate treaty, calls for critical scrutiny, especially of how the chapter on Impacts and Adaptation was handled.  [Editor’s Note: See also the 30 July 2007 posting, Bush Administration submits evasive Climate Action Report to the UN.]

See our September 18, 2006, post—“Where is the U.S. Climate Action Report required under the climate treaty?”—in which we recall briefly what happened when the Third Climate Action Report was issued in 2002.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the foundational climate treaty to which the United States is a party, sets forth requirements for UNFCCC Parties to provide periodically a “national communication” that identifies the steps they are taking to implement the Convention.  The U.S. Climate Action Report is a series of official national communications that has been submitted by the U.S. Government to the UNFCCC Secretariat—most recently in 2002—to fulfill this commitment.

See the full text of the State Department’s Federal Register Notice below, published May 4. The Fourth Climate Action Report was due to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC no later than the end of 2005.  The U.S. is one of only 4 Annex I countries that have not yet submitted their fourth national communications.  A Federal Register notice on April 8, 2005 said: “The State Department intends to make available for public review a draft national communication in summer of 2005.” That never happened and the public review has been delayed until now.

What happened to this long-missing-in-action report?  Why was it held up for so long by the Bush Administration? 

Unlike the Third Climate Action Report, which was available for a 30-day public review, review of this draft, which the administration has been so dilatory about releasing, is open to the public FOR ONLY 14 DAYS.  COMMENTS ARE DUE “ON OR BEFORE NOON, May 18, 2007.”

The draft Fourth Climate Action Report should receive critical scrutiny. We encourage those who are interested to submit comments, especially on Chapter 6, on “Impacts and Adaptation.” We will have more to say about problems with this draft in a follow-up post.

Full text of May 4 Federal Register notice (includes procedure for submitting public review comments)—

[Federal Register: May 4, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 86)]
[Notices]
[Page 25675-25676]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr04my07-121]

[[Page 25675]]
———————————————————————————————————-

Part VI
Department of State

———————————————————————————————————-

Preparation of Fourth U.S. Climate Action Report; Notice
[[Page 25676]]

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 5791]
Preparation of Fourth U.S. Climate Action Report
AGENCY: Department of State.
ACTION: Notice; Request for public comments.

———————————————————————————————————-

SUMMARY: In June 1992, the United States signed, and later ratified in October, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Pursuant to the national communication reporting requirements under Articles 4.2 and 12 of the Convention and to guidelines later adopted by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), the United States submitted the first U.S. Climate Action Report (USCAR) to the UNFCCC Secretariat in 1994, the second in 1997 and the third in 2002. The U.S. Government has prepared an initial draft of the fourth national communication for public review. The purpose of this
announcement is to notify interested members of the public of the opportunity to submit input on the draft text of the national
communication before the final document is completed.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before noon, May 18, 2007. Because of the tight time constraints on completing and printing the final text, a longer review period is not feasible.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be submitted via e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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Additionally, comments may be sent via postal mail to: CAR4 Comments, U.S. Department of State, Office of Global Change (Room 2480), 2201 “C’’ Street NW., Washington, DC 20520 or via fax to: (202) 647-0191.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Kirsten R. Jaglo, Office of Global Change, U.S. Department of State at (202) 736-7092.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In accordance with the UNFCCC’s reporting requirements as specified in Articles 4.2 and 12, and following reporting guidelines developed (and adopted by the UNFCCC COP at its first session), the United States prepared the first U.S. Climate Action Report (CAR) and submitted it to the UNFCCC Secretariat in October 1994.
 
At the eighth COP in 2002, in Decision 4/CP.8 the Parties requested that Parties included in Annex I to the convention submit to the secretariat a fourth national communication (see FCCC/CP/2002/7/Add.1). This document is available on the Internet at
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/cop8/07a01.pdf#page=12

The Fourth United States Climate Action Report (CAR)

The draft fourth CAR provides an update on key activities conducted by the U.S. since the third CAR, an inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, an estimate of the effects of mitigation measures and policies on future emissions levels, and a description of U.S. leadership and involvement in international programs, including associated contributions and funding efforts.
 
In addition, the text discusses U.S. national circumstances that affect U.S. vulnerability and responses to climate change. Finally, the CAR presents information on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program, our efforts in systematic observations, including the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System,and our education, training and outreach efforts.

Table of Contents of the Draft Fourth U.S. CAR

1. Introduction and overview
2. National circumstances
3. Greenhouse gas inventory
4. Policies and measures
5. Projected greenhouse gas emissions
6. Impacts and Adaptation
7. Financial resources and transfer of technology
8. Research and systematic observation
9. Education, training, and outreach

Public Input Process

This Federal Register notice solicits comments on the draft chapters listed above. The individual chapters are posted on the
Internet and may be down-loaded from the following Web site: http://www.state.gov/g/oes/climate.
Comments may be submitted to the contact listed above. Comments on each of the chapters will be due within 14
days of release.
 
The 2002 U.S. Climate Action Report may be viewed or downloaded via the Internet at: http://www.gcrio.org/CAR2002/.

Dated: April 30, 2007.
Christo Artusio,
Acting Director Office of Global Change, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 07-2251 Filed 5-3-07; 10:38 am]

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