Project Works with American Indian Tribes to Develop Climate Change Plans

March 22, 2010

CU-Boulder’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) recently awarded Professor Sarah Krakoff and CEES Research Fellow Julie Teel seed funding for a new project, American Indian Tribes, Climate Change, and Energy: Law and Policy Analysis and Solutions. During this first phase of the project, Teel, Krakoff, and their team are working alongside three American Indian tribes in the Colorado Plateau region—the Navajo, Southern Ute, and Jicarilla Apache—to develop culturally appropriate Tribal Energy Action and Climate Change Adaptation Plans. “We hope the plans will serve as information sources and starting points for decision-makers at the tribal, state, and federal levels, and will be models for the development of similar plans for other interested American Indian tribes,” said Professor Krakoff.Project goals include assessing ecological, cultural, and legal impacts of climate change; recommending legal and policy measures to facilitate tribally appropriate responses to climate change; and analyzing renewable energy and energy efficiency options, barriers, and solutions for the three tribes.“Despite the growing interest in these issues, there remains a need for targeted legal and policy analysis and institutional support for interested tribes related to sustainable energy development, natural resource planning, and preparedness for climate change.” said Teel.The team has gathered much of the relevant background research on climate change, adaptation approaches, renewable energy and energy efficiency options, and the needs and capacities of tribes in the region.In March, the research team met with tribal members and government staff throughout the Colorado Plateau region for input and guidance. This initial development stage of the project will continue through July 2010, and the team is pursuing additional funding options to develop a continuous program addressing these issues.