NTAA: Air Topics

NTAA Air Topics:

Climate Change

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.

Click here for NTAA Outreach to States requesting Tribal consultation on State Implementation Plans to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

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.

NTAA Documents
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan Community Page. On Monday, August 3rd, 2015 the U.S. EPA announced the final Clean Power Plan to establish final emission guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs). NTAA released a statement on August 5th including an announcement that a NTAA Policy Response Kit will be posted here in the near future to help Tribes respond to this EPA action. You can find EPA’s Clean Power Plan Community Page here for more information on the Clean Power Plan here. Stay Tuned for more information from NTAA!


Senate Briefing Document

Impacts of Climate Change on Tribes in the United States (December 2009)

ATTACHMENTS - Impacts of Climate Change on Tribes in the United States

NTAA Request for Tribal Participation in Clean Coal and Carbon Storage (CCS) Task Force (March, 2010)

Comments on Proposed Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule (December 2009)

EPA Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouses under the Clean Air Act (June, 2009)

EPA Proposed Mandatory Rule for Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (June 2009)

EPA Proposed Geologic Sequestration rule (November, 2008)

EPA Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Regulating Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act (November 2008)

Related Documents

NRLC - Native Communities and Climate Change: Protecting Tribal Resources as Part of National Climate Policy - September, 2007

Related Links

Tribes and Climate Change - ITEP

Click Here to Join NTAA as a Member Tribe

The National Tribal Air Association is funded
through a grant from the United States
Environmental Protection Agency's
Office of Air & Radiation (OAR)

National Tribal Air Association • PO Box 15004 • Flagstaff, AZ 86011 • (928)523-0526 • (928)523-1266 (fax)