The White House held a virtual convening this week with eleven Federal agencies on President Biden’s commitment to build resilience, both at home and abroad, against the impacts of climate change that have already manifested and will continue to intensify according to current trajectories. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad, along with Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy David Hayes, led the convening as a part of the newly launched White House Coastal Resilience Interagency Working Group (IWG).
Chair Mallory underscored coastal communities’ essential role to play in mitigating climate change and strengthening resilience, as outlined in Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. She noted the importance of ensuring Federal funding opportunities and data tools are accessible to all communities, especially in disadvantaged communities as it is often the most historically underserved and overburdened communities that experience challenges rebuilding after natural disasters. NOAA Administrator Spinrad conveyed the urgency of coastal resilience, and highlighted that equitable investments in coastal habitat restoration and nature-based infrastructure can deliver economic development for the Nation. The officials also highlighted the critical investments in the Build Back Better Agenda that would invest in protection from coastal resilience to sea-level rise and hurricanes.
The Coastal Resilience IWG was formed by the National Climate Task Force in June 2021 and is co-led by the Council on Environmental Quality and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It aims to elevate, coordinate, and accelerate the Federal government’s efforts to increase the resilience of the nation’s coasts and coastal communities to the impacts of climate change. The Coastal Resilience IWG reports to the National Climate Task Force, which was charged by Executive Order 14008 to establish a whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis that increases resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Initial Coastal Resilience IWG participants include:
- Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Department of the Interior (DOI)
- Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The IWG has three initial focus areas: Aligning major Federal involvement in coastal resilience activities; developing grant making and data implementation strategies that will facilitate a coordinated working partnership with state, Tribal, territorial, and local governments in identifying and implementing effective coastal resilience investments, with an emphasis on equity and disadvantaged communities; and facilitating the use of the Federal government’s data sharing and mapping resources to improve coastal resilience investment decision-making—in coordination with on-going work on climate data and information products to improve adaptation and increase resilience.