The core purpose of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) global change research program is to develop scientific information that supports policy makers, stakeholders, and society at large as they respond to climate change and associated impacts on human health, ecosystems, and socioeconomic systems. EPA’s research is driven by the Agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment and statutory requirements, and includes: (1) improving scientific understanding of global change effects on air quality, water quality, ecosystems, and human health in the context of other stressors; (2) assessing and defining adaptation options to effectively prepare for and respond to global change risks, increase resilience of human and natural systems, and promote their sustainability; and (3) developing an understanding of the potential environmental and human health impacts of GHG emission reduction technologies and approaches to inform sustainable mitigation solutions. EPA Program Offices and Regions leverage this research to support mitigation and adaptation decisions, as well as inform communication with external stakeholders and the public.
EPA relies on USGCRP to develop high-quality scientific models, data, and assessments to advance understanding about physical, chemical, and biological changes to the global environment and their relation to drivers of global climate change. Satellite and other observational efforts conducted by USGCRP agencies are crucial to supporting EPA’s efforts to understand how land use change, population change, climate change, and other global changes are affecting ecosystems and the services they provide. EPA’s global change research applies and extends these results using regional and local air quality, hydrology, and sea level rise models to better understand the impacts of climate change to specific human health and ecosystem endpoints. These connections enable local, regional, and national decision-makers to develop and implement strategies to protect human health and the environment. In turn, EPA’s research provides USGCRP agencies with information and understanding about the connections between global change and impacts at local, regional, and national scales, as well as how mitigation and adaptation actions may influence global changes.
EPA’s research informs approaches to prepare for, adapt to, understand, and minimize the vulnerabilities to and impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, wildfire, and rising sea levels, and their impacts on human health and well-being and social and economic systems. Other EPA activities include applying long-term datasets, analytical tools, and models to examine and communicate observed climate change indicators and project impacts and economic damages associated with global mitigation scenarios. EPA’s technical assistance and analytical expertise supports State and local decision-makers seeking to identify, prioritize, and implement adaptation work within their environmental programs.