Building Climate Resilience and Adapting to a Changing Climate

Just a few days ago, we observed the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. We remain committed as ever to helping communities along the eastern coast recover and rebuild after one of our country’s worst natural disasters.

A key part to this recovery and rebuilding is making sure our communities are resilient to a changing climate, and can better adapt to devastating climate-related impacts.  With a mission as critical to protecting public health and the environment, EPA is helping communities across the country do just that.

Earlier today President Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for our neighborhoods and communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and other impacts of a changing climate. And that’s why today EPA is releasing its draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans for public review and comment.

Whenever I travel the country, I see the steps cities, states, and businesses are already taking to prepare and adapt to climate change. The plans offer a roadmap for our Agency’s work to support those ongoing, local efforts. They will inform brownfields investments and local cleanup activity, build climate resilience into Hurricane Sandy recovery activities, and support city programs to strengthen water infrastructure facing the threat of climate-related impacts like floods, droughts, and storm surges.

The executive order and EPA’s climate adaptation plans also carry out President Obama’s overall Climate Action Plan, which focuses on building climate resilience across the country, but also ways to cut carbon pollution—a driving force of global climate change.

As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, a few months ago EPA proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants—and next year we’ll propose guidelines for states to deal with existing power plants.  Before starting on these commonsense standards, EPA led robust outreach and engagement with stakeholders ranging from industry leaders to bipartisan elected officials to the general public.  A transparent and open process is how we can lead our way to the best, most pragmatic and commonsense path to reduce carbon pollution and move our country into a sustainable, 21st Century clean energy economy.

And that kind of open process is what we’re looking for in releasing our draft Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans for public review and comment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—the same goes for making sure we help communities and families prepare, adapt, and invest wisely in the face of climate change.

That’s why we’re partnering with cities and towns to ensure they’re prepared to respond and adapt. At EPA, the steps we’ve been taking to address a changing climate are an extension of what EPA does so well—using good science to inform commonsense, cost-effective ways to protect public health and the environment.

The comment period on EPA’s draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans closes on January 3, 2014.

More information on EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans: http://epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/fed-programs/EPA-impl-plans.html

More information about EPA’s climate adaptation activities: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/

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