Climate Adaptation Policy Statement
Administrator Regan has directed EPA Senior Leadership to proactively incorporate climate adaptation planning into the agency’s programs, policies, rules, and operations, even as we work to reduce GHG emissions that are driving climate change.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation
May 26, 2021
The impacts of climate change are affecting people in every region of the country, threatening lives and livelihoods and damaging infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems in communities across the nation. Certain communities and individuals are particularly vulnerable to these impacts, including low-income communities and communities of color, children, the elderly, tribes and indigenous people. Climate change can also exacerbate existing pollution problems and environmental stressors. All of these impacts challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to accomplish its mission of protecting human health and the environment. As your Administrator, I believe we must take the actions necessary to ensure we continue to fulfill our mission even as the climate changes and work with other federal agencies to increase the resilience of the nation.
In his first week in office, President Joe Biden directed all federal agencies to integrate climate adaptation planning into their missions, programs and management functions to ensure their success in enhancing preparedness for and resilience to the climate crisis. For the EPA, this includes evaluating how climate change might affect our efforts to attain environmental standards given heat waves and more intense storms, increased use of pesticides given expanded lifespans and habitat of insects and impacts of rising seas and storm surges on hazardous waste sites and critical water infrastructure. Identifying strategies that deliver co-benefits for mitigation of greenhouse gases and other pollution, public health, economic growth and job creation, national security and environmental justice will be central to building a more resilient future.
In 2014, the EPA developed its first Climate Change Adaptation Plan and began to mainstream adaptation planning into the agency’s work. We have partnered with other federal agencies, states, tribes, territories, local governments and international partners to promote climate resilience across the nation and internationally. Nevertheless, more needs to be done given the magnitude of this global challenge.
I am directing my leadership team, including assistant administrators, general counsel, associate administrators and regional administrators, to update the agency’s 2014 Plan and to proactively incorporate climate adaptation planning into the agency’s programs, policies, rules and operations, while we also work to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Specifically, I direct all EPA offices to work with the Office of Policy to complete or update their Implementation Plans, as relevant, to:
- Integrate climate adaptation planning into EPA programs, policies and rulemaking processes.
- Consult and partner with states, tribes, territories, local governments, environmental justice organizations, community groups, businesses and other federal agencies to strengthen adaptive capacity and increase the resilience of the nation, with a particular focus on advancing environmental justice.
- Implement measures to protect the agency’s workforce, facilities, critical infrastructure, supply chains and procurement processes from the risks posed by climate change.
- Modernize EPA financial assistance programs to encourage climate-resilient investments across the nation.
The EPA will actively engage with organizations representing overburdened and underserved communities that are more vulnerable to climate impacts to ensure the EPA’s adaptation plans reflect the principles of environmental justice and equity.
The Associate Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Policy is designated as the agency’s Senior Climate Change Adaptation Official and is responsible for working with EPA programs and regions to develop and carry out the activities described in the Action Plan.
Working together, we will act based on science and seize the opportunities that tackling the climate crisis presents.
Michael S. Regan
US EPA Administrator