PO Box 15004, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5004
Phone: (928) 523-0526
Fax: (928) 523-1266 Andy.Bessler@nau.edu
NTAA Air Topics:
According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that
can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that
persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external
forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed
directly or indirect to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural
climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable
to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes.
Significance to Tribes
Climate change is perhaps the most pressing environmental issue of our time. Perhaps no other community of people has experienced
the adverse impacts of climate change more than the nation's Indian tribes. Climate change is affecting the subsistence harvesting
of tribes due to changes in the migratory patterns and locations of animals and traditional plants. In most cases, tribes do not
have the legal right to follow these animals and plants. In the far north, species never found before are beginning to show up
along with disease-carrying insects against which Indian tribes have yet to establish immunities. Tribes can no longer travel
safely on ice that has served their subsistence lifestyles well but which is now disappearing at a rapid rate. Alaska Native
villages, in particular, have experienced increased storm surges which has led to subsequent coastal erosion and flooding. In
fact, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at least three tribes will need to be moved in the next 10 to 15 years as a
result of these storm surges, largely due to climate change. Indian tribes in the lower 48 are facing their own issues as well
due to climate change impacts. Among them are devastated fisheries in the northwest, drought-ridden lands in the Southwest, and
unpredictable growing conditions in the Midwest. It doesn’t stop there but it at least illustrates what tribes across the country
are facing and will continue to face without a concerted approach by the federal government to address the adverse impacts of
climate change nationally. The reality of climate change and its impacts facing tribal communities across the country necessitates
wisdom on the part of the EPA as to how it will respond to regulating GHGs so as not to adversely affect Indian tribes. Otherwise,
many tribes could see their traditional ways of life come to a virtual end.
Clean Power Plan Toolbox for States and Tribes
As co-regulators, states and tribes will develop plans to meet the guidelines in the Clean Power Plan (CPP).
The federal resources below provide information on state and tribe plan development and can help states and tribes determine the most cost-effective
approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Please note that inclusion of a measure in the toolbox does
not mean that a state or tribe plan must include that measure. In addition, inclusion of these measures does not necessarily imply the
approvability of an approach or method for use in a state or tribe plan. States and tribes will need to demonstrate that any measure included in a
state or tribe plan meets all relevant criteria and adequately addresses elements of the plan components.
Click here to vist the EPA's Clean Power Plan Toolbox for States and Tribes.