Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas spoke at the Leaders Summit on Climate where he reaffirmed the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) commitment to adapt and respond to the climate emergency, including by announcing several steps the Department is taking to address this crisis.
“The impacts of the climate emergency on both our national and collective global security are vast,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “At the Department, we must — and we will — do more to address the climate crisis. DHS will implement a new approach to climate change adaptation and resilience, and we will do so with the sense of urgency this problem demands.”
Secretary Mayorkas announced the launch of the DHS Climate Change Action Group, a coordinating body composed of the Department’s senior leadership that will drive urgent action to address the climate crisis and will report directly to the Secretary. The Climate Change Action Group will unite, refocus, and elevate the Department’s cross-functional efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
DHS also recently published a public Request for Information on how the Department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can ensure that its programs advance equity and increase resilience for all – especially among those who are disproportionately at risk from the impacts of climate change. This request will enable FEMA to perform its time-honored mission of “helping people before, during, and after disasters” under modern conditions. In direct response to the reality of the climate emergency, this request will also serve as the basis to reorient FEMA’s efforts in furtherance of its longstanding goal of “building a culture of preparedness” in the context of novel risks, above all those produced by climate change.
Further, Secretary Mayorkas announced action to reduce emissions and promote resilience and adaptation in collaboration with the Department’s partners across every level of government and the private sector. DHS is leading the way in the adoption of electric vehicles with the goal of electrifying 50 percent of our fleet by 2030. This is a key initiative of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Infrastructure Plan,” which if passed, would identify $174 billion in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure nationwide. By integrating EVs into the DHS fleet, the Department will support the reshaping of the transportation sector and reduce carbon emissions.
The climate crisis poses a significant threat to both DHS operations and the American people. It is vital for the Department to provide leadership and take proactive measures to minimize its environmental impact across the United States and globally. The actions announced today – on Earth Day – demonstrate DHS’s commitment to bold action on climate change.