Departments Release Climate Adaptation Plans

Departments Release Climate Adaptation Plans

The Biden Administration’s Departments released Climate Adaptation Action Plans on Thursday October 7. Twenty different departments issued plans that will have federal agencies integrate climate adaptation into their missions, programs, operations, and management. The coordinated releases fulfill the President’s “whole-of-government” approach to confronting the climate crisis as outlined in Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement focused on how the Department will use science for planning and decision-making to support its climate adaptation and resilience plan. The Department’s Plan outlines how it will embed adaptation and resilience planning and implementation throughout its operations and programs. The Plan commits the Department to the following major categories of adaptation actions:

  1. Promoting Climate-Resilient Lands, Waters and Cultural Resources;
  2. Advancing Climate Equity;
  3. Transitioning to a Resilient Clean Energy Economy;
  4. Supporting Tribal and Insular Community Resilience;
  5. Empowering the Next Generation of Conservation and Resilience Workers;
  6. Enhancing Climate Literacy; and
  7. Bolstering Climate Resilience in the Management of Sites, Facilities and Supply of Products and Services.

“The Interior Department is committed to meeting the Biden-Harris administration's ambitious climate and infrastructure goals,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “As the climate crisis disproportionately affects underserved communities, Interior will center environmental justice, build resilient communities and invest in a clean energy future that can create millions of good-paying union jobs, while protecting the communities, natural and cultural resources on which Americans rely.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) climate adaptation and resilience plan identifies key climate threats to agriculture and forestry and outlines five cross-cutting adaptation actions USDA can take:

  1. Build resilience across landscapes with investments in soil and forest health.
  2. Increase outreach and education to promote adoption and application of climate-smart adaptation strategies.
  3. Broaden access to and availability of climate data at regional and local scales for USDA Mission Areas, producers, land managers, and other stakeholders.
  4. Increase support for research and development of climate-smart practices and technologies to inform USDA and help producers and land managers adapt to a changing climate.
  5. Leverage the USDA Climate Hubs as a framework to support USDA Mission Areas in delivering adaptation science, technology, and tools.

“Integrating climate change into USDA’s planning and decision making is critical to ensuring that America’s producers, who are on the front lines of climate change, are positioned to be successful in the long term,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a release. “This Adaptation Plan lays out the framework for USDA to carry out sustained climate adaptation that addresses current and emerging climate risks and challenges.”

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 (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.

October 15, 2021