To better understand the current and future vulnerabilities and risks to climate change, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara directed the Division of Energy and Climate to conduct a statewide climate change vulnerability and risk assessment.
The Delaware Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment reflects the best available climate science, climate modeling, and projections to illustrate the range of potential vulnerabilities that Delaware may face from the impacts of climate change. The Assessment will provide a strong scientific foundation for the development of the state’s adaptation planning and strategy.
The Delaware Climate Change Steering Committee was created to oversee the Assessment process. The Steering Committee’s membership includes some of Delaware’s leading scientists and practitioners. Their charge is to ensure the Assessment adheres to the highest levels of scientific integrity and that the information presented is applicable for future work in the state. Members represent the fields of agriculture, ecosystems and wildlife, climate, public health, water resources, and infrastructure.
In 2000, the Delaware Climate Change Action Plan (DCCAP) was prepared with funding from the Delaware State Energy Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State and Local Climate Change Program. The Center for Energy and Environmental Policy of the University of Delaware researched and wrote the Action Plan with the guidance and advice of the Delaware Climate Change Consortium (DCCC), comprised of representatives from government, business, labor, environment and community-based organizations. In this Action Plan, the DCCC has developed a set of policy options that can reduce Delaware’s greenhouse gas emissions by 7% below the 1990 level. This amounts to a decrease of almost 25% in State emissions by 2010.
Three levels of implementation were devised: a Full Implementation scenario involving the adoption of all measures (i.e. 100%); a Major Commitment scenario which seeks to realize 65% of the reductions identified in the DCCAP through aggressive state policies and supporting federal strategies; and a Modest Commitment scenario with 35% of the DCCAP’s reductions targeted for state action and supporting federal initiatives. A detailed emissions reduction policy strategy is included in the DCCAP and is based on detailed analyses of a wide range of policy measures applicable to each sector of energy use. To ensure applicability to Delaware, the final selection of options was determined on the basis of cost-effectiveness. Implementation of the Action Plan will require adoption of a policy agenda that encourages the state’s government, industries, and citizen organizations to participate actively in a wide range of implementation activities. Such cooperation would involve legislative initiatives, community input and support, and education and outreach.