Boosting the Resilience of Buildings and Infrastructure
(Climate Action Plan, p. 13.)
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to convene a panel on disaster-resilience standards to develop a comprehensive, community-based resilience framework and to provide safety guidelines for buildings and infrastructure.
- The Administration is to continue efforts to increase the resilience of federal facilities and infrastructure, building on federal agencies’ Climate Change Adaptation Plans.
- The Department of Defense (DOD) is to assess the relative vulnerability of its coastal facilities to climate change.
- The Transportation Leadership Awards program for Climate Ready Infrastructure is to devote $200 million to communities that build enhanced preparedness into their planning efforts and that have proposed or are ready to break ground on transit, rail, and other infrastructure projects to improve resilience.
Implementation, Progress, and Outcomes
NIST Disaster Resilience Panel
September 30, 2013: Applied Research Associates, Inc., was awarded a $1.8 million contract to provide logistical, administrative, and technical support to NIST for convening a Disaster Resilience Standards Panel (DRSP), developing a first-generation Disaster Resilience Framework (“Framework 1.0”), and developing Model Resilience Guidelines for critical buildings, infrastructure, and systems that are essential to community resilience. (Disaster Resilience Standards Panel and Framework, FedBizOps.gov (Oct. 25, 2013) (announcing award of contract); NIST, Statement of Work: Disaster Resilience Standards Panel and Framework 2 (Sept. 10, 2013) (describing scope of work).) According to the “Statement of Work” for the contract, it was “envisioned” that the first meeting of the DRSP would take place 6 months after receipt of the award, with subsequent meetings every three months while Framework 1.0 was being developed. The final draft of Framework 1.0 would be delivered within 18 months of the contract date, with an outline of a version 2.0 due 6 months later. A Model Resilience Guideline would be due in outline form within 18 months of the award date. Significantly more details and deadlines are spelled out in the “Statement of Work.” (NIST, Statement of Work: Disaster Resilience Standards Panel and Framework 4, 8–10 (Sep. 10, 2013).)
March 11, 2014: As part of its effort to draft a disaster-resilience framework, NIST will host six workshops on the role of buildings and infrastructure in ensuring community resilience. NIST will seek input from a broad array of stakeholders, including planners, designers, facility owners and users, government officials, utility owners, regulators, standards and model code developers, insurers, trade and professional associations, disaster response and recovery groups, and researchers. The first workshop will be held at the NIST laboratories in Gaithersburg, MD, on Monday, April 7, 2014, beginning at 8:00 a.m. The workshops are open to the public but space is limited and admission costs $55. Preregistration for the first workshop ends on March 31. The NIST website has further details about the April 7 workshop and registration instructions. (See NIST's April 7 Workshop Launches Effort to Improve Disaster Resilience of Communities, NIST (last updated Mar. 12, 2014).)
Building on Agencies’ Climate Change Adaptation Plans
2009: President Obama issued Executive Order 13,514, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance,” which imposed a number of climate-related requirements on federal agencies. One requirement was for each agency to develop and implement a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, to be updated annually. (Exec. Order No. 13,514, 74 Fed. Reg. 52,117 (Oct. 8, 2009), § 8.) The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) later issued instructions for implementing Executive Order 13,514. (CEQ, Federal Agency Climate Change Adaptation Planning: Implementing Instructions (Mar. 4, 2011).) The implementing instructions required federal agencies to begin climate change adaptation planning and to issue agency-wide climate change adaptation policy statements along with their 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans. (CEQ, Federal Agency Climate Change Adaptation Planning: Implementing Instructions, § I(A)(2) (Mar. 4, 2011).) The first of these Climate Change Adaptation Plans became available in February 2013. (Press Release, CEQ, “Obama Administration Releases Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans,” (Feb. 7, 2013).)
November 1, 2013: President Obama issued Executive Order 13,653, “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” which instructed federal agencies to build on their efforts under Executive Order 13,514 by continuing to develop, implement, and update comprehensive Agency Adaptation Plans that integrate consideration of climate change into agency operations and overall mission objectives. Each Agency Adaptation Plan is to identify and assess implications of climate change for the agency’s ability to accomplish its missions, operations, and programs; to describe existing and planned steps to manage risks and build resilience; to describe how any risk that may impair the agency’s ability to carry out its mission or operations will be addressed; to describe how improving adaptation and resilience will factor into agency expenditures; and to describe how the agency will contribute to interagency efforts. Agencies must submit their Adaptation Plans to CEQ and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and must make progress reports on their implementation. Agencies are to update their Adaptation Plans at specified intervals, with the first update due by March 1, 2014. (See Exec. Order No. 13,653, 78 Fed. Reg. 66,819 (Nov. 6, 2013), § 5. The online Sustainable Facilities Tool has a very helpful annotated version of the order.)
The U.S. Global Change Research Program has launched a Federal Adaptation Planning and Implementation Resources website to help federal agencies prepare and implement adaptation plans and otherwise meet the requirements of Executive Order 13,653.
DOD Assessment of Coastal Vulnerabilities
January 2013: The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) issued a white paper meant to guide ongoing research efforts on the vulnerability of military infrastructure to climate change. (See SERDP, Assessing Impacts of Climate Change on Coastal Military Installations: Policy Implications (Jan. 2013).) SERDP and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), the environmental research programs of the DOD, have been assessing the vulnerability of coastal facilities for several years.
Transportation Leadership Awards
This section of this page is under construction. Please check back later for information about this effort.
This page was last updated on March 24, 2014.