The Obama Administration has taken significant steps to strengthen the climate resilience of America’s communities and economy. Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for American communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other impacts of climate change.
An Executive Order to Protect Our Communities
Preparing America for climate-change impacts is a key pillar of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The actions directed by the President today are common sense steps to help ensure that America’s infrastructure, communities, and natural resources are resilient to sea-level rise, increasingly frequent large storms, increased drought, and other climate-change impacts that are already being felt in regions across the country. These steps will also help empower the Nation’s businesses, communities, health professionals, and decision makers with the tools and scientific information they need to make planning decisions in a changing climate.
Modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments Agencies will examine their policies and programs and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger. Agencies will identify and remove any barriers to resilience-focused actions and investments– for example, policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters instead of to stronger standards – including through agency grants, technical assistance, and other programs in sectors from transportation and water management to conservation and disaster relief.
Manage lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience America’s natural resources are critical to our Nation’s economy, health and quality of life. The Executive Order directs agencies to identify changes that must be made to land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations to strengthen the climate resilience of our watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them. Federal agencies will also evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands, as well as how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.
Provide information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience Scientific data and insights are essential to help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. The Executive Order instructs Federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions. In keeping with the President’s Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.
Plan for climate change related risk Recognizing the threat that climate change poses to Federal facilities, operations and programs, the Executive Order builds on the first-ever set of Federal agency adaptation plans released earlier this year and directs Federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to evaluate and address their most significant climate change related risks.
Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience
To implement the actions listed above, the Executive Order establishes an Interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies. To assist in achieving the goals of the Executive Order, these agencies are directed to consider the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
The Task Force members include state, local and tribal leaders from across the country who will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities to inform their recommendations to the Administration. To view members of the Task Force, please click on the button below: