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President Biden’s Climate Goals: EPA’s Role in Delivering on Those Commitments

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This is part of a series of short videos of New England citizens’ perception of climate change and related issues in their communities, professional or daily lives, produced by EPA.

This video features Dr. Aaron Bernstein, our associate director and a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital. More information on EPA’s work to prepare for and respond to climate change can be found at: http://epa.gov/climatechange

As the effects of climate change continue to be felt globally, President Joe Biden has set ambitious climate adaptation and mitigation goals for the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will play a central role in delivering on those commitments, helping the nation anticipate, prepare for, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change. In this article, we will explore the EPA's plans and initiatives aimed at fulfilling these responsibilities.

Policy Statement

In 2021, the EPA issued a Policy Statement, signed by Administrator Regan, outlining the agency's commitment to addressing climate change. The statement recognizes that the impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country and that urgent action is necessary to avoid the most severe consequences.

The Policy Statement emphasizes the EPA's intention to incorporate climate considerations into all of its programs and actions. This includes evaluating how climate change might affect efforts to attain environmental standards and identifying strategies that also reduce greenhouse gases and other pollution.

Climate Adaptation Action Plan and Implementation Plans

To put the Policy Statement into action, the EPA developed a Climate Adaptation Action Plan in conjunction with 20 Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans. These plans were developed by the agency's major offices, including the National Program and Regional Offices, and the Office of Policy (including the Office of Environmental Justice which became a separate program office in September 2022).

The Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans are designed to help the EPA and its partners identify, prioritize, and implement strategies for adapting to climate change. The plans address a wide range of issues, including water quality, air quality, waste management, and emergency response.

Regions of the United States

Climate change impacts vary across the United States, and the EPA's approach to adaptation must reflect this regional diversity. To address these differences, the agency has organized its Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans by region, with plans specific to each of the agency's ten regions.

These region-specific plans allow the EPA to take a targeted approach to climate adaptation, considering the unique challenges and opportunities presented by each region. The agency's goal is to build resilience in communities across the country, ensuring that they are prepared to cope with the impacts of climate change.

EPA’s Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X)

The EPA's Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) is an interactive resource designed to help local governments effectively deliver services to their communities even as the climate changes. ARC-X provides information on best practices for climate adaptation and offers tools and resources to help communities develop and implement adaptation strategies.

ARC-X is a valuable resource for communities across the country, particularly those facing significant climate-related challenges. By using the information and resources provided by ARC-X, communities can take steps to become more resilient and better prepared for the impacts of climate change.

What is Climate Adaptation?

Climate adaptation refers to the process of preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change. This can include a wide range of actions, from building sea walls to protect against rising sea levels to developing drought-resistant crops.

The EPA's Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans provide a roadmap for communities and the agency itself to take action on climate adaptation. By identifying the most significant climate-related challenges and opportunities in each region, the plans offer a blueprint for building resilience and reducing vulnerability.

EPA's Climate Change Website

The EPA's Climate Change website provides a wealth of information on climate change and the agency's response to the challenge. The site includes information on climate science, policy, and solutions, as well as resources for individuals and communities looking to take action on climate change.

The website is an essential tool for anyone looking to learn more about climate change and the EPA's role in addressing the issue. It provides a comprehensive overview of the agency's approach to climate change, including its efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

EPA Climate Adaptation Program Leads and Regional/Program Points of Contact

To ensure that the EPA's Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans are effectively implemented, the agency has designated Climate Adaptation Program Leads and Regional/Program Points of Contact. These individuals are responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plans in their respective regions or programs and for coordinating with other agencies and stakeholders to ensure a coordinated and effective response to climate change.

The Climate Adaptation Program Leads and Regional/Program Points of Contact play a critical role in the EPA's efforts to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. They are responsible for ensuring that the agency's Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans are effectively implemented and that the agency is working collaboratively with other agencies and stakeholders to address the challenges posed by climate change.

Conclusion

As the effects of climate change continue to be felt across the United States and around the world, the EPA has an essential role to play in delivering on President Biden's ambitious climate goals. Through its Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans, the agency is working to build resilience and reduce vulnerability in communities across the country, helping them prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

By incorporating climate considerations into all of its programs and actions, the EPA is ensuring that the United States is well-prepared to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. As the agency continues to implement its Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans, it will be critical to remain focused on building resilience and reducing vulnerability, ensuring that communities across the country are prepared for the impacts of climate change.

FAQs

  1. What is the EPA's role in addressing climate change? The EPA plays a central role in helping the United States prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Through its Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans, the agency is working to build resilience and reduce vulnerability in communities across the country.
  2. What is climate adaptation? Climate adaptation refers to the process of preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change. This can include a wide range of actions, from building sea walls to protect against rising sea levels to developing drought-resistant crops.
  3. What is the EPA's Climate Change website? The EPA's Climate Change website provides a wealth of information on climate change and the agency's response to the challenge. The site includes information on climate science, policy, and solutions, as well as resources for individuals and communities looking to take action on climate change.
  4. What is the EPA's Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X)? The EPA's Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) is an interactive resource designed to help local governments effectively deliver services to their communities even as the climate changes. ARC-X provides information on best practices for climate adaptation and offers tools and resources to help communities develop and implement adaptation strategies.
  5. How can communities take action on climate change? Communities can take a wide range of actions to address the impacts of climate change, from developing drought-resistant crops to building sea walls to protect against rising sea levels. The EPA's Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans provide a roadmap for communities to take action on climate adaptation, identifying the most significant challenges and opportunities in each region.
Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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