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On Thursday, Oct. 7, as part of President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan to bolster resilience of its operations and assets from the accelerating impacts of climate change. In support of Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, HHS joins 20 other federal agencies in releasing their corresponding plans, also referred to as the Climate Action Plans (CAP).

The HHS plan provides a road map for assuring that all parts of the Department address the threats to health and well-being related to climate change for all people in the United States, especially those most vulnerable. The plan also ensures continuity of operations of HHS facilities in the face of extreme weather events and fosters healthy greenhouse gas reduction and resilience efforts in the public health sector and community.

“On top of facing the historic health threat of the pandemic, now more than ever, vulnerable communities face the brunt of climate change at the expense of their health,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The investments we make today to protect Americans’ health from climate change will pay dividends for generations, in terms of reducing illness and health costs.”

HHS identified five priority actions that will be implemented through its mission, programs, operations, and management of procurement, real property, public lands and waters, and financial programs:

  • Expand existing climate change-related public health and biomedical research activities;
  • Improve HHS responses to the climate crisis;
  • Develop climate-resilient grant policies at HHS;
  • Workplace optimization and effective space management for climate resilience; and
  • Promote sustainable and climate resilient operations at HHS facilities.

This plan represents a concerted effort to enhance resilience and adaptation to climate change throughout the activities of HHS. Effective action to build resilience to climate change-related health, economic, and other threats is essential to fulfilling the HHS mission to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans. This list of five adaptation actions is the first step in HHS’s climate resilience efforts, with additional actions to be identified and initiated as the plan is implemented.

HHS is committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Americans by integrating environmental justice and equity into its work to build a safer, healthier future.

Read the full HHS plan – PDF and policy statement – PDF.

Learn more about HHS Sustainability.

Author: Press Release