Recommendations of the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and New Executive Actions

Nov 17, 2014 | News & Views, What's New



D.C. 20503


Nov. 17, 2014

FACT SHEET: Recommendations of the
President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness
and Resilience and New Executive Actions

New Climate Resilience Toolkit Unveiled to
Help Plan for Changing Climate

As part of the Administration’s overall effort to combat climate
change, President Obama is committed to ensuring that U.S. communities thrive
in the face of a changing climate. The Administration has made significant
investments in resilient disaster recovery in the wake of devastating storms
like Hurricane Sandy, ensuring that rebuilding and infrastructure projects
factor in climate impacts such as sea-level rise and investing in making
transit systems more resilient to flooding and extreme weather.

Last year, as part of his Climate Action Plan, the President
established the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate
Preparedness and Resilience, which recognizes that even as we act to curb the
carbon pollution that drives climate change, we must also improve our ability
to prepare for the climate impacts we are already seeing across the country.
The Task Force comprises Governors, Mayors, county executives and Tribal
leaders from across the country who are experiencing climate change impacts
ranging from more severe droughts and wildfires to record heat waves and
damaging storms. Task Force leaders have taken bold action to protect
their communities by investing in more resilient infrastructure, updating building
codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, and planning for rapid
recovery from extreme weather events.

Today, at a meeting with Vice President Biden and Senior White
House officials, Task Force members will present their recommendations for how the Federal Government
can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with
extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. The Administration is also
announcing new tools and actions to help these leaders and others contend with
climate impacts and build healthy and resilient communities, including a
web-based Climate Resilience Toolkit that provides for the
first time easy, intuitive access to dozens of Federal tools that can directly
help planners and decision makers across America conduct their work in the
context of a changing climate.

Recommendations of the Task Force on
Climate Preparedness and Resilience

The Task Force’s recommendations are the culmination of a year of
work to solicit input from across State, local, Tribal, and territorial
governments, trade associations, academic organizations, civil society, and
various other stakeholders and translate their first-hand experiences into
action items for the Federal Government to support climate-ready communities.
The recommendations offer guidance on how the Federal Government should
modernize programs and policies to incorporate climate change, incentivize and
remove barriers to community resilience, and provide useful, actionable
information and tools. The Task Force organized its report across seven
cross-cutting themes: building resilient communities; improving resilience in
the Nation’s infrastructure; ensuring resilience of natural resources;
preserving human health and supporting resilient populations; supporting
climate-smart hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness and recovery;
understanding and acting on the economics of resilience; and building capacity.

This approach ensures that the recommendations reflect the
diversity of needs across the country and within each community, ranging from
health to natural resources management to infrastructure and building design.
For example, the recommendations address how the Federal Government can limit
disease spread that is caused or exacerbated by climate change through the
development and enhancement of climate-sensitive health tracking and
surveillance tools, and call on the Federal Government to integrate climate
resilience planning and preparedness criteria throughout existing Federal
programs, such as those that provide transportation funding, to ensure these
projects will last as long as intended.

Executive Actions on Climate Resilience to
Support State, Local and Tribal Leaders

At today’s meeting, Task Force members will view a demonstration
of the Administration’s new Climate Resilience Toolkit, which was called for in
the President’s Climate Action Plan and developed with input from the Task Force.
In addition to providing easy access to resources ranging from a tool that
helps planners see which neighborhoods are likely to flood in future storm
surges to a tool that shows how predicted future drought conditions would
affect regional crop growth, the Toolkit presents more than 20 case studies
that feature step-by-step examples of how real-world decision makers have used
these tools, lessons learned, and best practices. The Toolkit, which is
publicly accessible at, initially focuses on the
topics of coastal flood risk and food resilience. In the coming months, it will
be updated to address additional areas such as water, ecosystems,
transportation, and health. Some features of the Toolkit include:

· The
Climate Explorer: A visualization tool that offers maps of climate
stressors and impacts, as well as interactive graphs showing daily observations
and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations across the Nation.

· Steps to
Resilience: A five-step process that users can follow to initiate, plan,
and implement projects to help make their homes, communities, and
infrastructure more resilient to climate-related hazards.

· “Taking
Action” Stories: More than 20 real-world case studies describing climate-related
risks and opportunities that communities and businesses face, steps they’re
taking to plan and respond, and tools and techniques they’re using to improve

· Federal
Resource Database: The Toolkit provides centralized access to federal
sites for future climate projections, as well as freely available tools for
accessing and analyzing climate data, generating visualizations, exploring
climate projections, estimating hazards, and engaging stakeholders in
resilience-building efforts.

In addition to the Toolkit, the Administration announced several
other initiatives to support State, local, and Tribal climate resilience needs,

· Developing
Online Resilience Training for Local Officials The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing an online climate
adaptation training module for local government officials with locally tailored
information that can help officials answer questions about climate impacts and
resilience opportunities specific to their community. The virtual training
module, which is being developed with advice from members of EPA’s Local
Government Advisory Committee, and will be accessible through the new Climate
Resilience Toolkit, will also include examples of effective resilience strategies
that have been successfully implemented in representative types of cities and
towns across the nation.

· Announcing
a Hampton Roads Preparedness and Resilience Exercise Led by
the National Security Council and supported by the National Exercise Division,
the Administration will conduct a climate preparedness exercise in partnership
with State and local leaders, as well as private-sector, academic and
non-governmental partners in the Hampton Roads, VA region on December 2,
2014. Similar to successful workshops in Houston, Texas; Fort Collins,
Colorado; and Anchorage Alaska, this one-day exercise provides partners with
the best-available science on climate effects and consequences and a tailored
scenario designed to enhance regional climate adaptation and hazard mitigation
planning. This workshop will reinforce work currently underway in the Hampton
Roads and Norfolk areas to address climate impacts, especially sea level rise,
extreme storm surge, and recurrent flooding.

· Creating
a Disaster Recovery App The Department of Energy is launching
Lantern Live, a mobile application that will provide real-time information in
the wake of severe weather events on which gas stations have fuel and which
neighborhoods have electricity. The app was developed in response to
lessons learned in the aftermath Hurricane Sandy, and will allow users to
report and view availability of fuel at nearby gas stations and access power
company outage maps.

· Launching
a Climate Education and Literacy Initiative The White House Office
of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is launching a Climate Education and
Literacy Initiative, which has been developed in collaboration with Federal
partners and shaped by input from communities and organizations across the
country. OSTP will convene leaders in education and climate science from
the public, private, nongovernmental, and philanthropic sectors at the White
House to discuss new commitments and steps to connect our students and citizens
with the skills they will need to succeed as tomorrow’s community
leaders, city planners, and entrepreneurs, in the context of a changing
climate. This effort is a key step in growing a next-generation American
workforce that is equipped with scientific information and tools, grasps the
climate-change challenge, and is empowered to develop and implement

The Administration has previously taken additional actions to build National resilience based
on input from Task Force members. This includes launching Federal competitions
– like the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition – that spur
innovation and encourage investments in community resilience, new funding to
support tribes prepare for climate impacts, and making vast Federal data
resources on climate change impacts more accessible to decision-makers,
innovators, and the public through the Climate Data Initiative. The
Administration is also taking steps to ensure that public investments – whether
in transportation systems, infrastructure, or natural resources – are made with
future conditions in mind, and has ensured Federal agencies ranging from the
Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Homeland Security
are actively incorporating climate resilience into their
missions and operations. Going forward, the Administration will continue to
collaborate with Task Force members and other community leaders from across the
country to build a healthier and more resilient Nation.