AIR TOPICS: Climate Change

AIR TOPICS: Climate Change

Please visit our Policy Resource Kit page to find out about current actions related to Climate Changein your region

Climate Change Overview

Perhaps no other community will or has experienced the adverse impacts of climate change more than the nation’s Indian Tribes. Rising sea levels, coastal flooding and erosion, melting sea ice, loss of traditional hunting and fishing resources, extended drought and unpredictable farming conditions threaten every aspect of indigenous cultures.

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Greenhouse Gases

According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, the Earth’s climate is changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In recent years, NTAA has worked with Tribes to develop new responses, actions and policies regarding greenhouse gases. They include the proposed repeal of the Clean Air Act, the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, as well as other EPA regulatory changes for greenhouse gas emissions.

While more information may be found in the NTAA Policy Resource Kits library, the following documents provide information and background on these issues.

In 2019, EPA accepted comments on a proposal for changes to the Best System of Emissions Reductions (BSER) for Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Electric Generating Units (EGUs), more commonly known as power plants. This proposal removes Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) as the BSER, and replaces it with emissions limits that are higher than what CCS would achieve. Additionally, this proposal seeks comment the interpretation and application of the endangerment finding.

As part of its Policy Resource Kit on the issue, NTAA produced the following documents and webinar.


Climate Change Resources

There is an inextricable link between climate change, energy, and most air quality issues. Nearly everything NTAA does, in one way or another, is affected by climate change.

A good place to find information is our Policy Resource Kits, the majority of which include impacts to the climate. You can find NTAA’s previous Policy Resource Kits in NTAA’s Library.

NTAA Library

Additionally, NTAA produced the following materials in response to requests from the EPA and members of the Senate.

Each year, NTAA publishes the Status of Tribal Air Report which includes a section on Climate Change. The 2019 STAR covers climate change starting on page 31.

With Tribes on the front lines of climate change, many have developed or are developing policies and plans to deal with the impacts. 

The National Congress of American Indians provides a good introduction to how Climate Change affects Tribes along with resources and other information.

More resources and training can be also found on the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals Climate Change page.

The Tribal Climate Change Project is a joint effort by the University of Oregon, with support from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Here you’ll find resources for Tribes as well as links to Tribal Climate Change adaption plans from around the US.

The BIA Tribal Resilience Program (TRP) provides federal-wide resources to Tribes to build capacity and resilience through leadership engagement, delivery of data and tools, training and tribal capacity building. Direct funding supports tribes, tribal consortia, and authorized tribal organizations to build resilience through competitive awards for tribally designed resilience training, adaptation planning, vulnerability assessments, supplemental monitoring, capacity building, and youth engagement.

EPA Resources

EPA research improves knowledge of the impacts of climate change on human health and the environment. The scientific information and tools can be used by Tribal communities to effectively and sustainably manage the impacts from a changing world.

Funding Opportunities

NTAA continues to seek out funding opportunities for Tribes to help them develop policies and actions related to Climate Change. Please check back as this list may be updated frequently.