The new Climate Change Adaptation Program Area supports Federal agency climate adaptation planning required by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Implementing Instructions, issued February 22, 2011. Please check in periodically for new information.
  • What is climate change adaptation & why do federal agencies need to adapt?
  • Background on the implementing instructions for federal agency climate change adaptation
  • Federal framework for adaptation planning and guiding principles
  • Regulations, guidance, and policy

What is Climate Change Adaptation & Why is it Important?

Climate change adaptation means adjusting to a changing climate to minimize negative effects and take advantage of new opportunities. The Federal Government has a critical obligation to carry out adaptation planning because climate change directly affects a wide range of Federal services, operations, programs, assets, and our national security. Through adaptation planning, an agency can identify how climate change is likely to impact its ability to achieve its mission, operate, or meet its policy and program objectives. By integrating climate change adaptation strategies into its planning, the Federal Government can ensure that resources are invested wisely and Federal services and operations remain effective in current and future climate conditions.

Background on the Implementing Instructions for Federal Agency Climate Change Adaptation

Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, establishes an integrated strategy for sustainability within the Federal Government. Under the Executive Order, each agency is required to evaluate their climate change risks and vulnerabilities to manage the effects of climate change on the agency's mission and operations in both the short and long-term as part of the formal Strategic Sustainability Performance Planning process. The Implementing Instructions for Federal Agency Climate Change Adaptation Planning provide great specificity as to how agencies are supposed to meet the adaptation requirements under the Executive Order.

It is October 2010 Progress Report, the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force recommended that CEQ issue climate change adaptation planning implementing instructions. CEQ chartered the Task Force's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Agency Working Group, chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to work with the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive and the Office of Management and Budget to draft the Implementing Instructions.

Federal Framework for Adaptation Planning, and Guiding Principles

CEQ based its adaptation planning requirements on a six-step,flexible planning framework and eight Guiding Principles, as recommended by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The planning framework is not meant to be prescriptive or to provide detailed recommendations for project-level adaptation, those detailed options will be developed over time by each agency with the help of a growing set of planning tools, illustrative case studies, and lessons learned. In addition, climate change adaptation planning in an iterative process; our knowledge of climate change is evolving, as is our understanding of different types of adaptive actions. Please click on the circles in the diagram below for more information on specific planning actions.

Other Resources
  • Case Studies from Federal Agencies

  • Case Studies from Other Agencies

  • Calendar of Upcoming Workshops and Due Dates

  • Federal Working Group Site

  • National Adaptation Plans Currently Under Development