U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Change Adaptation Plan

On October 31, 2014, EPA released the final versions of its Agency-wide Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the 17 Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans produced by the Program and Regional Offices. The EPA Adaptation Plan identifies vulnerabilities to EPA’s mission and goals from climate change, and presents priority actions the Agency will take to incorporate considerations of climate change into its programs, policies, rules and operations to ensure they are effective under future climatic conditions. Each Implementation Plan articulates how the office will integrate climate adaptation into its planning and work in a manner consistent and compatible with its goals and objectives.

The plan identifies specific priority actions that the office will take to begin addressing its vulnerabilities and mainstreaming climate change adaptation into its activities. Criteria for the selection of priorities are discussed. An emphasis is placed on protecting the most vulnerable people and places, on supporting the development of adaptive capacity in the tribes, and on identifying clear steps for ongoing collaboration with tribal governments.

1: Plan and Prepare for Tomorrow

2: Retrofit, Mitigate and Adapt

3: Ensure Housing for San Franciscans Today and After a Disaster

4: Empower Neighborhoods Through Improved Connections


The EPA commits to focusing on climate change impacts on the most vulnerable communities in furtherance of their commitment to environmental justice. The strategy explains that children, the elderly, the poor, the infirm, and tribal and indigenous populations are among the most vulnerable to climate change. In particular, EPA has a special obligation to working consultatively with the tribes to integrate environmental justice and climate adaptation into EPA's tribal programs. 

The report provides a quick explanation of why coastal climate change will have a larger impact on low-income communities and tribes. For each, it provides a list of resources that users can cite/explore to explain these disproportionate impacts. 


Some of EPA’s commitments include:

Incorporating climate adaptation criteria in the Brownfields grants process to ensure cleanup actions taken by communities are effective as the climate changes.

Integrating considerations of climate change into the Clean Water State Revolving Funds process and continue working with States to ensure investments in water infrastructure are resilient to changes in climate.

Providing communities with the tools they need to increase their resilience. For example, the EPA Stormwater Calculator and Climate Adaptation Tool is designed to empower community planners to estimate the amount of stormwater runoff that they will have to manage today and in the future.

Using the best available science, EPA has begun to identify ways in which its mission, facilities, and operations are vulnerable to climate change. EPA will refine this initial effort to identify and understand areas of vulnerability by undertaking research, assessment, and monitoring activities in the coming years.

EPA has identified priority actions it will take to begin integrating climate change adaptation into its programs, policies, rules and operations. Agency-wide priorities include:

  • Fulfill Strategic Measures in FY 2011–2015 EPA Strategic Plan
  • Protect Agency facilities and operations
  • Factor legal considerations into adaptation efforts
  • Strengthen adaptive capacity of EPA staff and partners through training
  • Develop decision-support tools that enable EPA staff and partners to integrate climate adaptation planning into their work
  • Identify cross-EPA science needs related to climate adaptation
  • Partner with tribes to increase adaptive capacity
  • Focus on most vulnerable people and places
  • Measure and evaluate performance
  • Develop and implement Program and Regional Office Implementation Plans


On October 31, 2014, the White House released the final versions of Climate Change Adaptation Plans produced by federal departments and agencies. As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, these agency Adaptation Plans detail how climate change is expected to affect their missions and operations and outline steps they will take to address these issues and incorporate climate change considerations into their decision-making. 

EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan provides a road map and commitment from the Agency to addressing the direction provided in the President’s Climate Action Plan, and Executive Order 13653 - Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. 




Publication Date: October 31, 2014

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