[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 26 (Friday, February 7, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7417-7421]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02304]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR PART 82

[FRL-9906-16-OAR]


Request for Public Engagement in the Interagency Special Report 
on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States

AGENCY: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of the 
United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

ACTION: Request for Public Submissions of Comments on a Draft Report 
Prospectus, Information, and Contributing Author Nominations, and 
Notice of a Public Forum.

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SUMMARY: As part of the President's Climate Action Plan and ongoing 
efforts within the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the 
Interagency Crosscutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health 
(CCHHG) and a subset of the Interagency National Climate Assessment 
Working Group (INCA) have initiated an interagency Special Report on 
the impacts of observed and projected climate change on human health in 
the United States. This data-driven technical synthesis and assessment 
will be an interagency product of the USGCRP organized by the CCHHG. 
This request for public engagement presents opportunities to submit 
comments on the Draft Report Prospectus, scientific information to 
inform the assessment, and nominations for contributing authors, and 
announces a Public Forum to Inform the Interagency Special Report on 
the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States.

DATES: Comments: Comments on the draft prospectus, information to 
inform the Special Report, and contributing author nominations may be 
submitted during a 30-day period beginning March 1, 2014. All 
submissions should be received by USGCRP on or before 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time. March 31, 2014. The Public Forum will be held March 13, 
2013 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Eastern Time.
    Public Forum: The Public Forum, organized by the CCHHG, will be 
held on March 13, 2014.

ADDRESSES: The March 13, 2014 Public Forum will be held at the EPA 
William Jefferson Clinton East building, Room 1153, 1301 Constitution 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. To register, please follow the 
detailed instructions as provided below.
    Information in response to the Request for Comments on the Draft

[[Page 7418]]

Prospectus, Call for Information, and Call for Contributing Author 
Nominations must be submitted electronically at: http://globalchange.gov/component/content/article/990.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For details on the period for 
submission of scientific information, comments on the Draft Prospectus, 
and call for contributing author nominations from the public, please 
contact Allison Crimmins; telephone: 202-343-9170; or email: 
healthreport@usgcrp.gov.
    [Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by 
the Government to form a binding contract or issue a grant. Information 
obtained as a result of this request may be used by the government. 
Please do not include any information that might be considered 
proprietary or confidential.]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Request for Comment on Draft Report Prospectus

A. How to Submit Comments on the Draft Prospectus

    The Draft Prospectus presented in Section I.B of this Notice 
describes proposed plans for scoping, drafting, reviewing, producing, 
and disseminating the Interagency Special Report on the Impacts of 
Climate Change on Human Health in the United States. EPA invites 
interested parties to review the Draft Prospectus and provide comments 
within the 30-day public comment period, beginning March 1, 2014 and 
ending 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time March 31, 2014. The EPA and the CCHHG 
are seeking comments on the Special Report objectives, proposed topics, 
and process as outlined in the Draft Prospectus. Public comments 
received on the Draft Prospectus will be evaluated and used to inform 
the Special Report Final Prospectus.
    Comments on the Draft Prospectus can be made at: http://globalchange.gov/component/content/article/990.

B. Draft Prospectus for the Interagency Special Report on the Impacts 
of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: An Assessment 
of Observed and Projected Climate Change Impacts on Human Health in the 
U.S.

(1) Overview
    As part of the President's Climate Action Plan and ongoing efforts 
within the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the Interagency 
Crosscutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health (CCHHG) and a 
subset of the Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group 
(INCA) have initiated an Interagency Special Report on the Impacts of 
Climate Change on Human Health in the United States. This data-driven 
technical synthesis and assessment will be an interagency product of 
the USGCRP, organized by the CCHHG.
    The Special Report will be an evidence-based, quantitative 
assessment of observed and projected climate change impacts on human 
health in the United States. Development of the report will leverage 
existing activities of the CCHHG and INCA members, aggregate and assess 
current quantitative research on human health impacts of climate 
change, and summarize the current state of the science. As a technical 
scientific assessment, the Special Report will extend the work begun 
under the 2008 Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.6 (SAP 4.6) Analyses 
of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human 
Systems and the forthcoming third National Climate Assessment (NCA) by 
using modeling and analysis tools to quantify, where possible, 
projected national-scale impacts of climate change to human health. 
Such analyses will attempt to identify and bound impact uncertainties, 
as well as better define changes in attributable epidemiological risks, 
particularly for vulnerable populations, with the goal of informing 
public health authorities and other public planning and resource 
management entities.
    The lead and coordinating Federal agencies for the Special Report 
are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National 
Institute of Health (NIH), National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
(2) Proposed Focus Areas
    The proposed scope of the Special Report will cover the following 
eight focus areas, which will each comprise a section of the Special 
Report:
    (a) Thermal Extremes: Heat and Cold Waves
    (b) Air Quality Impacts
    (c) Vectorborne and Zoonotic Disease
    (d) Waterborne and Foodborne Diseases
    (e) Food Safety
    (f) Extreme Weather and Climate Events
    (g) Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders
    (h) Vulnerable Regions and Subpopulations to Health Impacts of 
Climate Change

The authors will review and assess the literature in each focus area in 
order to summarize the state of the science regarding observed and 
projected health-related climate change impacts and associated changes 
in risk. Four sections of the Special Report propose to go beyond the 
assessment of literature to present additional modeling and/or 
quantitative analyses of the projected health impacts from climate 
change. Additional quantitative analyses conducted for the Special 
Report are proposed in the areas of:
    (1) Extreme Heat Mortality
    (2) Air Quality Impacts (Ozone or PM 2.5)
    (3) Lyme Disease
    (4) Vibrio-related Illness.
The sections below provide more detail on the scope of observations and 
projections that will be included in each section.
    (a) Observed Climate Change Impacts on Human Health
    Where possible, the Special Report will identify relationships 
between global, national, and regional climate changes and associated 
impacts on human health in the United States over the last century. 
Each section will include a ``state of the science'' overview aimed at 
understanding observed impacts and developing/maintaining climate-
health indicators. Because the impacts of climate change on health are 
complex and often dependent on multiple confounding socioeconomic and 
environmental factors, the methodology for developing appropriate 
climate and health indicators is challenging and still emerging. The 
authors of each section will leverage current efforts across multiple 
agencies to begin to address methodological challenges and further 
develop climate and health indicators, including the NCA indicator work 
and ongoing efforts at the EPA, CDC (through the Environmental Public 
Health Tracking Network), NIH (in collaboration with World Health 
Organization), and others.
    Though it is often difficult to attribute the exact impact of 
climate on many health indicators due to confounding factors (e.g., the 
ability of communities to prepare for and respond to the risks posed by 
climate change; the vulnerability of different populations and 
communities), such indicators will be instrumental not only in tracking 
and measuring health impacts of climate change, but also in identifying 
areas where public health intervention is most needed or likely to be 
most effective. A more comprehensive set of indicators will 
collectively demonstrate and communicate observed changes in climate 
change risk to Americans.
    Where quantitative national indicators are not available, or where

[[Page 7419]]

health impacts are too secondary or indirect in nature to attribute to 
climate change, a qualitative examination of the state of the science 
will provide context for these additional health threats and may serve 
to identify areas for future research. Further investigation of the 
impacts of climate change on Americans' overall well-being and welfare, 
though important, is beyond the scope of this report.
(b) Projected Changes in Health Risks
    While certain advances in the state of the science over the last 
five years are evident, research on projected changes in future health 
risk under different climate scenarios is in varying stages of 
development. As such, each section of the Special Report will seek to 
summarize the literature on modeling and quantification efforts 
regarding climate impacts on human health. The authors will pay special 
attention to research that frames risks in terms of probability-based 
changes in exposure, vulnerability, and adaptive capacity.
    As stated previously, four sections will include additional 
quantitative analyses to evaluate a range of possible changes in future 
health-related climate impacts and risks: (1) Extreme Heat Mortality; 
(2) Air Quality Impacts (Ozone or PM2.5); (3) Lyme Disease; 
and (4) Vibrio-related Illness. The authors will leverage existing or 
ongoing research or analytical efforts to derive additional 
quantitative analyses developed specifically for this report. This work 
will identify areas where probabilistic changes in attributable risks 
can be characterized, and where scientific uncertainty has been better 
defined since the publication of SAP 4.6. Each section will utilize 
established processes for determining and reporting confidence levels 
and likelihood of specific impacts across a range of scenarios and 
possible outcomes, and will articulate all standards or modeling 
assumptions. Existing products from other agency workgroups, such as 
the USGCRP's Metadata Access Tool for Climate and Health (MATCH) online 
database, will be incorporated as appropriate.
    For certain health outcomes, research that characterizes human 
health risks in terms of probability-based changes in exposure or 
vulnerability may provide a way to contextualize health risks in terms 
relevant for public health officials and planners. For example, the 
relationship between projected temperature increases and certain 
waterborne pathogens (e.g., Vibrio bacteria) is well known, but the 
link between projected changes in exposure to these pathogens and the 
projected increase in disease incidence remain uncertain. Thus, a 
probability-based metric of changes in vulnerability may be used to 
simply and clearly communicate changes in risk into the future and 
under alternative climate scenarios where a robust national projection 
in the annual number of cases of such diseases is not possible to 
derive at this time. Where appropriate, such risk-based framing will be 
highly valuable to informing efforts aimed at preventing or responding 
to climate impacts. In addition, this section may provide a framework 
for conveying complex changes in risk under uncertainty by mapping 
especially vulnerable populations or sites specifically related to 
environmental justice concerns.
(c) Other Report Scope Considerations
    Geographical Scope: The focus of the Special Report is on impacts 
within the United States. The report may consider global linkages and 
implications where appropriate. For instance, global studies may be 
considered for certain impact areas where there is a lack of long-term, 
consistent historical monitoring, such as the health impacts of extreme 
weather events. In some instances, regional studies may be more 
appropriate in geographic areas where risk is not homogenous across the 
nation, such as the spread of Lyme Disease.
    Timescales: While climate change is observed and measured on long-
term (30+ years) time scales, decision frameworks for public health 
officials and regional planners are often based on much shorter time 
scales, determined by epidemiological, political, and/or budgeting 
factors. This Special Report will quantify the implications of 
overlaying impact trends that occur on typical climatological time 
frames (e.g., from changes in extreme weather events to end-of-century 
projections of impacts such as sea level rise) on data from 
epidemiological time frames (e.g., from immediate or episodic health 
threats to cumulative exposure or the appearance of developmental 
effects).
    Uncertainty: Uncertainty will be characterized as qualitative 
confidence levels and, where possible, quantitative probabilistic 
likelihoods of specific impacts across a range of scenarios and 
possible outcomes. Measures of uncertainty expressed in the Special 
Report will be based on scientific evidence, statistical analysis of 
observations or model results, and expert judgment. The Special Report 
will follow NCA guidelines for transparent reporting of likelihood, 
confidence, and uncertainty findings.
    Complex Linkages and Potentially Confounding Factors: Many factors 
will affect the impact of climate change on human health; not all of 
these factors will be addressed in the Special Report. For example, a 
population's vulnerability (1) may be affected by direct climate 
changes or by non-climate factors (e.g., changes in population 
dynamics, economic development, education, infrastructure, behavior, 
technology, and ecosystems); (2) may differ across regions and in 
urban, rural, and coastal communities; and (3) may be influenced by 
individual vulnerability factors such as age, socioeconomic status, and 
existing physical and/or mental illness or disability. In addition, 
climate change or other non-climate factors will cause changes in 
adaptive capacity, ranging from an individual's ability to acclimatize 
to different meteorological conditions to a community's ability to 
prepare for and recover from damage, injuries, and lives lost due to 
extreme weather events. Attribution and detection considerations will 
be discussed in the introductory section(s) of the Special Report. 
However, projections of many of the factors listed above, and many 
other compounding, secondary, or indirect climate effects, though 
important to consider as part of a comprehensive assessment of changes 
in risks, may be beyond the scope of this report.
    Research Needs: While the goal of the Special Report is to 
highlight the current state of the science regarding climate impacts on 
health, research needs identified through the development of this 
assessment will be briefly summarized in the concluding section(s), as 
they may serve to inform ongoing gap analyses being conducted outside 
the scope of this Special Report.
(3) Process
(a) Audience, and Communicating Health Risks Associated With Climate 
Change
    The Special Report will be designed to inform public health 
officials, urban planners, decision makers, and other stakeholders at 
multiple levels of government who are interested in better 
understanding the risks climate change presents to human health. The 
goal of this Special Report is to provide these groups with updated 
information on the observed and projected impacts of climate change on 
human health and changes in risk to health. Though the report will not 
include policy recommendations, this information may help inform 
adaptation decisions and other strategies in the public health

[[Page 7420]]

arena. Better definitions of health risk and uncertainty will improve 
hazard identification and allow for better-coordinated responses to the 
impacts of climate change on human health. To that end, the Special 
Report will also highlight ongoing research focused on quantifying the 
risks to health associated with climate change.
(b) Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, and Required Expertise
    Authors will be selected based on their demonstrated subject matter 
expertise, their relevant publications and knowledge of specific topics 
designated in the draft outline, their demonstrated writing abilities 
and accomplishments, and their availability, such that they can aid in 
the development of a robust scientific, technical assessment. As a 
federal interagency report, the selection of lead authors will be 
limited to Federal employees and their contractors. Lead Authors may 
include a selection of CCHHG members, attendees of an initial scoping 
workshop, and other federal colleagues and contractors with relevant 
expertise. There is potential for additional cooperation with existing 
efforts, including the NCA indicators team, NIH literature review 
workgroup, and other agency collaborations.
    Contributing Authors with relevant subject matter expertise may be 
nominated by lead authors, CCHHG or other interagency members, and the 
general public (through this public Federal Register notice calling for 
contributing author nominations). Contributing Authors may be federal 
employees or non-federal subject experts. If needed to fill gaps in 
expertise, Contributing Authors will be selected through an independent 
process led by an EPA contractor based on expertise (e.g., scholarly 
publications, etc.) and other criteria.
    Collectively, the Lead and Contributing Authors will be responsible 
for preparing the initial draft of the report, including the text and 
any analysis required to synthesize the underlying studies on which the 
Special Report is based. Authors will rely on existing peer-reviewed 
literature as a basis for the report. Lead Authors will decide how best 
to organize their respective teams, including division of 
responsibility and time requirements among the Contributing and Lead 
Authors. In addition, Lead Authors and Contributing Authors will be 
responsible for reviewing relevant literature submissions made through 
this Federal Register Notice call for information to inform the Special 
Report, and for responding to public comments on the Draft Special 
Report. All authors should be accomplished writers and have 
demonstrated technical backgrounds in at least one field relevant to 
the implications of climate change on human health in the United 
States.
(c) Agency Roles
    The CCHHG will be responsible for compiling and synthesizing 
contributions from all authors. From within the CCHHG, a steering 
committee for the Special Report has been established to provide 
guidance and coordination to staff/authors. Lead agencies (EPA, NOAA, 
CDC, NIH) will provide staff support including, where appropriate, 
contractor support. EPA will serve a coordinating function to include 
providing support and facilitation of two planning workshops to bring 
together CCHHG members, federal agency experts, and supporting 
contractors, as appropriate. The workshops will serve to facilitate the 
scoping and development of report outlines and drafts, and to identify 
any model analyses or data retrieval needed for the assessment. EPA 
will work closely with the CCHHG Steering Committee to provide others 
(e.g., USGCRP) with regular progress updates.
(d) Information Quality and Peer Review
    The Special Report will be a federal interagency USGCRP product. As 
such, the process for preparation will be consistent with the 
guidelines for preparing USGCRP products, with referenced materials 
derived primarily from the existing peer-reviewed scientific literature 
and consistent with USGCRP guidance regarding use of grey literature. 
The report will follow federal information quality, transparency, and 
accessibility guidelines, and will undergo peer review, public review, 
and final interagency review.
(e) Process for Public Engagement and Publication
    The CCHHG Steering Committee plans to provide a number of 
opportunities for public engagement in scoping, informing, and 
reviewing the Special Report. During the initial scoping phase, the 
following opportunities will be available as described in this Federal 
Register Notice:
    (i) Notice of Request for Comments on Draft Report Prospectus: A 
30-day call for comments on the Special Report objectives, proposed 
topics, and process as outlined in the Draft Prospectus.
    (ii) Call for Information: A 30-day call for submissions of recent, 
relevant, scientific and/or technical research studies on observed and/
or projected climate change impacts on human health in the United 
States that have been peer-reviewed and published or accepted for 
publication.
    (iii) Nominations for Contributing Authors: A 30-day call for 
nominations of Contributing Authors to assist chapter author teams in 
the development of the Special Report chapters or sections. Interested 
parties are invited to submit nominations of subject matter experts, 
with descriptions of relevant expertise and publications
    (iv) Notice of Public Forum to Inform the Interagency Special 
Report on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United 
States: A free and open public forum to be convened March 13, 2014 at a 
federal facility in Washington, DC to facilitate engagement with 
stakeholders, non-federal subject matter experts, and interested 
public.

After completion of a Public Review Draft of the Special Report, EPA on 
behalf of the USGCRP will issue a second Federal Register Notice to 
announce a 45-day public comment period for the draft report. The 
public will be able to view the Draft Special Report and submit 
comments to an online docket available on the USGCRP's Web site. The 
CCHHG Steering Committee will also work to schedule side events, 
presentations at relevant conferences, and webinars to further engage 
the community of experts and the general public. Public comments 
received on the Draft Special Report will be evaluated and used to 
inform the final report.
    The CCHHG and USGCRP will publish the final Special Report 
electronically and consider options for hard copy publication. They 
will also explore options for online integration with future phases of 
the USGCRP's Global Change Information System. A full communications 
plan will be developed by the lead and supporting agencies along with 
designated authors, with input and assistance from the USGCRP 
communications team.
(f) Proposed Timing
    The Special Report is an interim report, designed to be released 
after the third and before the fourth National Climate Assessments. A 
draft of the Special Report is expected to be made available for public 
comment early in 2015, with final publication expected in late 2015.

II. Call for Relevant Scientific Information To Inform the Special 
Report

    Interested parties are invited to assist the EPA and USGCRP in 
collecting and

[[Page 7421]]

refining the scientific information base for the assessment. To do so, 
parties are asked to submit recent, relevant, scientific and/or 
technical research studies on observed and/or projected climate change 
impacts on human health in the United States that have been peer-
reviewed and/or published or accepted for publication in the peer 
reviewed literature.
    All scientific literature submitted in response to this call for 
information must be received within the 30-day call for information 
period, beginning March 1, 2014 and ending 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 
March 31, 2014. Submissions must be uploaded electronically at: http://globalchange.gov/component/content/article/990.

III. Call for Contributing Authors Nominations

    EPA and the CCHHG are also calling for nominations for Contributing 
Authors to assist specific chapter author teams in the development of 
the Special Report chapters or sections. Interested parties are invited 
to submit nominations of subject matter experts, with descriptions of 
relevant expertise and publications. Contributing authors will assist 
in the preparation of specific sections of the report, working closely 
with chapter author leads and teams. Submissions must demonstrate that 
nominees are accomplished English-speaking writers with demonstrated 
technical backgrounds, such that they can aid in the development of a 
robust scientific, technical assessment as subject matter experts in 
one or more of the following areas of climate-related health impacts:
    (a) Thermal Extremes: Heat and Cold Waves
    (b) Air Quality Impacts
    (c) Vectorborne and Zoonotic Disease
    (d) Waterborne and Foodborne Diseases
    (e) Food Safety
    (f) Extreme Weather and Climate Events
    (g) Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders related to Climate 
Change
    (h) Vulnerable Regions and Subpopulations to Health Impacts of 
Climate Change

Responses to this request must be made within the 30-day call for 
Contributing Author nominations period, beginning March 1, 2014 and 
ending 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 31, 2014. A completed 
nomination form, including a curriculum vitae or resume for each 
nominee that demonstrates the nominee's relevant area of expertise, 
must be submitted electronically at: http://globalchange.gov/component/content/article/990. The curriculum vitae or resume must be in English 
and preferably no more than 5 pages, identifying topical expertise and 
relevant publications. The nomination form will also ask for a brief 
statement of primary expertise (e.g., projected climate impacts on air 
quality, climate-related vectorborne diseases, waterborne diseases in 
the U.S.). Please also ensure that curriculum vitae or resume include 
address, phone number, email address, education, and the following 
information, if applicable: professional association membership, 
committee involvement, involvement in the development of other 
scientific assessments, scientific publications in this field, and 
relevant leadership activities.

IV. How To Register for the Public Forum To Inform the Interagency 
Special Report on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the 
United States

    The Public Forum will be held on March 13, 2014, at the EPA William 
Jefferson Clinton East building, Room 1153, 1301 Constitution Avenue 
NW., Washington, DC 20460. It is open and free to the public, but with 
limited space available. The first 120 people to register may attend. 
Registration will be available beginning February 13, 2014. Please 
register by going to http://globalchange.gov/component/content/article/990. Because this Public Forum is being held at a U.S. government 
facility, individuals planning to attend the hearing should be prepared 
to show valid picture identification to the security staff in order to 
gain access to the meeting room. The forum is an opportunity for public 
engagement, but since the event will not be formally recorded, it does 
not replace the Call for Information request in Section II or the Call 
for Contributing Author Nominations in Section III of this Notice; all 
submissions of relevant scientific information and Contributing Author 
nominees must be made to the USGCRP Web site as described above.

    Dated: January 28, 2014.
Sarah Dunham,
Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs.
[FR Doc. 2014-02304 Filed 2-6-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P