EPA Publishes 2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released its Climate Adaptation Action Plan, which describes steps EPA will take to address the impacts of climate change on communities across the nation. EPA also launched a new Climate Adaptation web page that will act as a hub for climate adaptation resources from across EPA.

“This plan is an integral part of EPA’s commitment to bold and decisive action to help the country anticipate, prepare for, adapt to, and recover from the devastating impacts of climate change,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “From fires in the west, to widespread drought, and the wide path of destruction left by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to New York, recent and current events show the impact our changing climate is having on our lives and livelihoods.”

Pursuant to President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, EPA’s approach to tackling the climate crisis is a step in mitigating the effects of climate change. The 2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan lays out several priorities for the agency to implement in the coming months and years, including:

  • Integrating climate adaptation and consideration of climate impacts into EPA programs, policies, rulemaking processes and enforcement activities;
  • Consulting and partnering with Tribes; state, local and territorial governments, and other federal agencies; community groups; scientists and adaptation experts; businesses; and other stakeholders to increase the resilience of the nation, with a particular focus on advancing environmental justice; and
  • Implementing measures to protect the agency’s workforce, facilities, critical infrastructure, supply chains and procurement processes from the risks posed by climate change.

Under President Joe Biden, the EPA has already taken action to reduce climate pollution and says it will continue to implement the agenda in the months to come. At the same time, EPA officials say they will use the agency's authorities and resources to help communities prepare for the serious climate impacts that are already underway.

Climate disruption often hits overburdened communities and people the hardest. As EPA implements this action plan, it will consider the disproportionate impacts of climate change on those who are already vulnerable, including low-income communities and communities of color, children, the elderly, Tribes, and Indigenous people. The agency will engage with underserved and vulnerable communities to ensure that its adaptation plans follow the principles of environmental justice and equity, according to EPA officials.

Anticipating and recovering from the impacts of climate change will require all levels of government to work together, says the EPA. Its climate adaptation strategies aim to be informed by the best available science and aim to deliver co-benefits for mitigation of GHG and other pollution, public health, economic growth and job creation, national security, and environmental justice — all of which will be central to building a more resilient future.

In addition to these plans, President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal include investments to strengthen the nation’s resilience to climate change and extreme weather events, including upgrading power infrastructure, rebuilding America’s roads and bridges, and more.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Management and Budget seek public input on all 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. The 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 agency plans.


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