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President Obama establishes Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, issues executive order

President Obama today established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Task Force members include state, local and tribal leaders from across the country. The President signed an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for American communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other impacts of climate change.

The Task Force will provide recommendations to the President on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing Federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing the information and tools they need to prepare.

Task Force members comprise governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders, representing a diverse range of communities. The members of the Task Force include:

  • State Officials: Governor Neil Abercrombie (HI); Governor Jerry Brown (CA); Governor Eddie Calvo (GU); Governor Jay Inslee (WA); Governor Jack Markell (DE); Governor Martin O’Malley (MD); Governor Pat Quinn (IL); and Governor Peter Shumlin (VT)

  • Local Officials: Mayor Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City, UT); Mayor James Brainard (Carmel, IN); Commissioner Paula Brooks (Franklin County, OH); Supervisor Salud Carbajal (Santa Barbara County, CA); Mayor Frank Cownie (Des Moines, IA); Mayor Bob Dixson (Greensburg, KS); Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles, CA); Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, MI); Mayor Kristin Jacobs (Broward County, FL); Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA); Mayor Michael Nutter (Philadelphia, PA); Mayor Annise Parker (Houston, TX); Mayor Patsy Parker (Perdido Beach, AL); Mayor Madeline Rogero (Knoxville, TN); Mayor Karen Weitkunat (Fort Collins, CO); and Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Hoboken, NJ)

  • Tribal Officials: Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (MN); and Reggie Joule, Mayor, Northwest Arctic Borough (AK)

Executive Order. The Executive Order (EO) “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” signed today directs Federal agencies to:

  • Modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments: Agencies will examine their policies and programs and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger. Agencies will identify and remove any barriers to resilience-focused actions and investments—for example, policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters instead of to stronger standards—including through agency grants, technical assistance, and other programs in sectors from transportation and water management to conservation and disaster relief.

  • Manage lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience: The EO directs agencies to identify changes that must be made to land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations to strengthen the climate resilience of our watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them. Federal agencies will also evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands, as well as how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.

  • Provide information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience: The EO instructs Federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions. In keeping with the President’s Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.

  • Plan for climate change related risk: The EO builds on the first set of Federal agency adaptation plans released earlier this year and directs Federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to evaluate and address their most significant climate change related risks.

To implement these actions, the EO establishes an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies. To assist in achieving the goals of the EO, these agencies are directed to consider the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.


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