Alongside more than 20 major federal agencies as part of President Biden’s whole of government approach to confronting the climate crisis, the Department of Commerce released its Climate Action Plan for Adaptation and Resilience on October 7, 2021.
With a substantial portion of the United States gross domestic product dependent on weather and climate, supporting economic growth and resiliency and equitably managing risks and opportunities requires reliable and timely climate information and services and the capacity to apply this information in decision-making. The Department of Commerce, through its scientific and economic bureaus, is uniquely situated to develop and deliver these services to help the private sector, local, regional, Tribal, and state governments and resource managers plan for and make decisions to adapt to climate change.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the United States to develop and produce advanced technologies, export them around the world, and speed global net-zero transitions. This work will ultimately lead to good-paying jobs and better technology for the world’s fight against climate change,” said Secretary Gina Rimando.
Federal agencies face a multitude of risks caused by climate change, including rising costs to maintain and repair damaged infrastructure from more frequent and extreme weather events and health and safety challenges to the communities across the country. To address these challenges, President Biden prioritized the revitalization of federal agency climate adaptation and resilience planning efforts after a four-year pause. Through this approach, large agencies developed adaptation and resilience plans, called “climate action plans,” to address their most significant climate risks and vulnerabilities. The plans address leveraging procurement to drive innovation and increase resilience against supply chain disruptions and are in line with the President’s commitment to implementing his Justice40 Initiative. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were previously submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Federal Chief Sustainability Officer and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.
As part of these efforts, agencies will embed adaptation and resilience planning and implementation throughout their operations and programs and will continually update their adaptation plans. Highlights from the Department of Commerce’s plan include how the agency plans to:
- Utilize the Department’s power of procurement to create equitable economic opportunities and invest in and maintain climate-ready and resilient facilities, products, and services.
- Provide climate science and services to the Federal Government and other stakeholders to support climate adaptation and resilience, including advanced measurements, tools and standards for climate consideration and decision support.
- Assist federal agencies, local governments, regional entities, states, and indigenous communities in understanding climate variability and integrating climate information and resiliency into their near-term and long-term strategies and actions, including economic development and natural resources stewardship.
- Promote the advancements of a climate-resilient economy and sustainable growth to create market opportunities (both domestic and abroad), new businesses, advanced technologies, and quality jobs.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Management and Budget seek public input on the agency climate adaptation plans. Members of the public may submit comments via the docket at https://www.regulations.gov/ (Docket ID: CEQ–2021–0003) until Nov. 6, 2021. CEQ also will hold a virtual convening this Fall with national organizations who have expertise in climate adaptation and resilience or have expressed interest in the agency plans.
All plans are available at www.sustainability.gov/adaptation.