Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a new Climate Action Plan outlining the steps the Department is taking to tackle the climate crisis, including bolstering the Department’s ability to adapt to climate change, building national resilience, undertaking mitigation measures, and addressing key vulnerabilities. This plan is part of President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis.
“Our world is facing a climate crisis that poses existential threats and demands urgent action. We must act now,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The DHS Climate Action Plan outlines how our Department will remain mission-resilient to climate change while reducing our own impact on the environment, including by electrifying our vehicle fleet, educating our workforce on the importance of adaptation and resilience, and leveraging grant programs to incentivize investments in disaster resiliency.”
President Biden prioritized the revitalization of federal agency climate adaptation and resilience planning efforts after a four-year pause. Through this approach, large federal agencies like DHS developed individual adaptation and resilience plans, called “Climate Action Plans,” to address their most significant climate risks and vulnerabilities. The DHS Climate Action Plan includes five priority actions:
- Incorporating climate adaptation into national preparedness and community grants and projects, including through the continuation of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program – the funding for which President Biden doubled to $1 billion – to provide incentives for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to adopt modern, disaster-resistant building codes. DHS initial BRIC selections include wildfire resilience programs, flood control programs, and small-town coastal hazard mitigation plans.
- Incorporating climate adaptation planning and processes into homeland security mission areas, including by reviewing current budget planning policies to assess whether climate change considerations are appropriately incorporated.
- Creating climate-resilient facilities and infrastructure, including by aiming to electrify 50 percent of the DHS vehicle fleet by 2030.
- Ensuring climate-ready services and supplies, for both the Department and the Nation, including by using CISA’s national risk assessment program to assess climate impacts and adaptation strategies to secure supplies of food, medicine, energy, and other vital resources.
- Increasing climate literacy, including by developing and implementing a DHS-wide climate education plan to raise awareness among our employees about the climate crisis and how to combat it through adaptation and resilience strategies.
DHS leads national efforts to build resilience, including by preparing for and recovering from disasters. Under the leadership of Secretary Mayorkas, DHS established the first-ever Climate Change Action Group (CCAG), which is comprised of senior officials from across the Department, to focus on promoting resilience and addressing multiple risks, including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires. The CCAG oversees the implementation of the Climate Action Plan and guides the Department’s approach to managing the climate crisis.