The climate crisis threatens homeland security in the United States. Extreme weather events and sea-level rise challenge the Nation’s preparedness and resilience.
The Department of Homeland Security is implementing a new approach to meet the crisis, one designed to protect homeland security by promoting resilience and adaptation, as well as reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions.
An informed nation is a resilient nation, and a prepared nation is a safe nation. DHS is working to inform the American people about climate-related risks, including extreme heat, flooding, wildfire, and drought, and to provide them with clear information about how to reduce those risks. Emergency response is also a DHS priority. The Department seeks not only to respond to disasters, but also to empower American communities to prevent them before they occur. It is promoting technological innovation, and providing state, local, and tribal governments with the resources and capacity they need to be safer and more resilient.
In addition, DHS has a significant regulatory role, and it is using that role to make the United States less vulnerable to climate-related risks. It is vigorously enforcing America’s trade laws to keep illegal pollutants out of our Nation. The Department is also working to protect its own personnel and property against climate risks, and it is sharing evidence and best practices with the American people and partners across the Nation to promote change at all levels of government and in the private sector as well.
In the following video, Secretary Mayorkas announced Department commitments to address the climate emergency at the White House Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021.
DHS is working to meet the climate crisis to protect homeland security by promoting resilience and adaptation. Below are some helpful resources:
- FEMA Updated Guide to Help Communities with Resilience Grants Process
- BRIC Benefit Cost Analysis Resources
- Climate Resilience in Action | FEMA.gov
- FEMA National Risk Index Website
- FEMA Flood Maps Resource
- FEMA Floodplain Management Resources for State and Tribal Government Officials
- FEMA Floodplain Management Resources for Local Government Officials
- ClimRR Website
- Heat.gov Tools and Information
Addressing the climate emergency is a priority for DHS as sea-level rise, extreme weather events, workforce health risks, and other direct and indirect impacts of climate change affect the Nation’s preparedness and national security. The Department is taking high impact actions to enhance resilience, reduce carbon emissions, and build a safer Nation.
1. DHS is increasing investments in climate adaptation to support community resilience.
Description: Each year, the Department provides billions of dollars in grants to state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions that are used for training, exercises, planning, personnel, equipment, and projects to prepare for many threats and hazards. Through these investments, DHS is committed to increasing its focus on climate adaptation to enable communities to build resilience to the effects of climate change, such as inland flooding or low water, severe weather, unpredicted temperature changes, and drought.
Outcome: Communities have the resources they need to build resilience and proactively adapt to and thrive in a changing climate, thus reducing the need for Federal disaster response and recovery assistance.
2. DHS is promoting building standards and practices that account for climate change.
Description: In order to position the nation’s communities and its infrastructure to meet the expected demands of a changing climate, DHS is working to incorporate climate change adaptation measures and incentives into building codes and standards. This includes publishing the notice of proposed rulemaking for the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). The FFRMS was reinstated in January 2021 and requires agencies to protect federally funded buildings and projects from flood risks. Additionally, DHS is leading the implementation of the National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, through the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), an interagency coordination body led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Outcome: An increased number of communities are integrating climate change adaptation measures into local planning and development practices.
3. DHS is improving the provisioning of risk information to equip decision makers with reliable and accurate risk information as the climate changes.
Description: Changes in the climate are affecting the accuracy and practice of using historical records to predict the magnitude, location, and frequency of future hazards. To improve the reliability and availability of risk data, DHS is initiating pilot programs and studies to identify areas where risk data and information can be updated more frequently to better account for future impacts. An initial area of focus for the Department, through FEMA, is updating the National Risk Index to account for the projected impacts of climate change.
Outcome: The risk information provided by DHS will enhance resilience by allowing local community planners to model and assess future risk, identify potential adaptation and mitigation measures including nature-based solutions, and assess the estimated benefits from those targeted projects and actions toward lowering their overall risk to climate driven emergencies.
4. DHS is co-leading U.S. Government enforcement efforts under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act) to keep illegally imported hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) out of our economy.
Description: The AIM Act directs an 85% phasedown of U.S. production and consumption of HFCs, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, by 2036. DHS co-chairs the Interagency Task Force on Illegal HFC Trade established to help implement and enforce the AIM Act.
Outcome: Successful implementation of the AIM Act is expected to reduce total emissions by 4.6 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2050, nearly equal to three years of U.S. power sector emissions at 2019 levels. The value of successful implementation’s cumulative net benefits is estimated at $272 billion. Enforcement is key to achieving these goals.
CBP and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Enforcement actions in FY2022 alone prevented illegal HFC shipments equivalent to more than 889,000 MTCO2e from entering the border. The Interagency Task Force expects that enforcement actions will ramp up further in 2024 as the production and consumption phasedown accelerates from 90% of historical levels to 60%.
5. DHS is enhancing its ability to respond to emergent events, including those exacerbated by climate change, by establishing Department-wide incident management capabilities that could support the interagency response when called upon.
Description: As the risks to the Nation become more complex and diverse, DHS has increasingly been called upon to help manage incidents that fall outside of the Stafford Act or where no well understood or preexisting coordination mechanism exists. Examples include the Russia-Ukraine Domestic Preparedness and Response Unified Coordination Group, Operation Allies Welcome, the response to COVID-19 (both before the Stafford Act declarations and for non-Stafford activities after the declarations), and the consequences of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. These incidents demonstrate the need to build and institutionalize operational capabilities that are flexible and can be deployed or pre-positioned in support of a range of incidents impacting the Homeland.
Outcome: The Department has a flexible workforce that is aware of the implications of climate change and future risks and can respond to a variety of future disasters. Resources are distributed appropriately based on new threats and hazards.
6. DHS is providing guidance on the impacts of climate change on National Critical Functions (NCFs).
Description: Private critical infrastructure owners need to account for climate change’s direct and indirect impacts across all their operations, especially those that provide critical services to the public. Effective engagement with the private sector should account for any gaps in knowledge on how the DHS climate change strategy is critical to national resilience.
Outcome: Critical infrastructure owners will have better informed Environmental, Social, and Governance direction and investment, enhancing resilience to the impacts of climate change.
7. DHS is leveraging scientific competitions and innovation challenges to build climate resilience via its second Innovation Prize Challenge.
Description: Clean Power for Hours, DHS’ second Innovation Prize Challenge, was announced for Earth Day 2023. This challenge, also sponsored by the Department of Energy, is designed to identify and catalyze existing, innovative technologies that can support continuity of National Critical Function facility operations and allow small scale essential service providers to remain operable during power failures or disruptions lasting longer than 36 hours.
Outcome: Development of behind-the-meter clean energy storage solutions at Technical Readiness Level 6 (i.e., system/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment) or higher is incentivized.
8. DHS is establishing partnerships with other agencies, organizations, and communities who are impacted by climate change.
Description: DHS is establishing partnerships in the climate scientific community, such as the United States Global Change Research Program, to enhance our awareness of the projected effects of climate change. DHS is also partnering with Historically Black College and Universities and other external stakeholders vulnerable to climate change to build greater knowledge of climate change impacts, mitigation measures that communities are taking, and areas where federal support is needed.
Outcome: Through improved engagement with front line communities, the Department can better understand and direct resourcing needs in areas such as grant funding, risk and modeling tools, and key research and development opportunities. Communities will ultimately have improved access to higher quality information on risks to inform preparedness and mitigation for future climate disasters.
9. DHS is leading by example to invest in a sustainable and resilient Department.
Description: DHS has set a goal of transitioning 50% of its vehicle fleet to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030. Some components have their own internal goals; TSA expects to have transitioned its entire fleet by 2035, while the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) intends to achieve 50% electrification within 10 years.
Outcome: Department-wide ZEV acquisition planned in FY2023 is estimated to achieve 3,768 short tons (3,418 metric tons) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions over the life cycles of the vehicles. The DHS Fleet Electrification Program Management Office is working to develop a GHG emissions reduction estimate for the overall goal of 50% electrification by 2030.
10. DHS is providing our workforce with the tools and guidance it needs to operate in a changing environment.
Description: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is deploying heat mitigation kits to U.S. Border Patrol personnel to reduce the risks extreme temperatures pose to personnel and irregular migrants. This program is currently active in two sectors and is being expanded to all other sectors in time for the 2023 heat season.
Outcome: Kits will provide an initial response to lessen extreme heat effects experienced by the DHS workforce and irregular migrants. This allows additional time for a more robust emergency response and may ultimately save lives across more sectors as deployment increases.
DHS is at the forefront of national initiatives to address the impacts of climate change. DHS’ Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change, its Climate Action Plan, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Climate Framework, outline strategic priorities and lines of effort to combat the climate crisis and promote a safe and resilient nation.
FEMA received Inflation Reduction Act funds to make grants for low-carbon materials used in disaster recovery and climate resilience projects available to communities across the United States. You can learn more at the links below.
- Biden-Harris Administration Expands Assistance to Boost Climate Resilience and Support Communities Using Low-Carbon Materials
- Implementation of Inflation Reduction Act Section 70006(1) for FEMA Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs
- Building a Clean, Climate-Resilient Economy through FEMA’s Grant Programs
Launched in June 2022, CBP’s Green Trade Strategy governs the agency’s efforts to combat climate change in the context of the trade mission and provides a framework to incentivize green trade, strengthen CBP’s environmental enforcement posture, accelerate green innovation, and improve climate resilience and resource efficiency. The Strategy establishes a proactive model to combat the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on the agency’s trade mission while strengthening existing enforcement activities against environmental trade crimes including illegal logging; wildlife trafficking; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; illegal mining; and other violations of environmental laws and regulations. It also defines goals for environmentally sustainable trade policies, programs, and infrastructure within the agency.
DHS is investing in a sustainable, resilient department as climate change poses new mission challenges. For example, in 2022 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) became the first federal agency to debut a battery electric vehicle (EV) fitted for performing law enforcement functions at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers’ Office of Cheltenham Operations. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is the first of a variety of EVs DHS plans to field across its varied law enforcement missions throughout the homeland.
Partnerships constitute the foundation for securing the homeland. Preparedness for and resilience to catastrophic events requires the Department to collaborate with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and our brave local first responders. DHS work with the public must also:
- Address the disproportionately high and adverse climate-related impacts disasters have on disadvantaged communities;
- Reduce unnecessary barriers to participation and effectiveness;
- Increase equity; and
- Promote preparedness and resilience at the individual level.
- May 10, 2023: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Outlines Priorities for Building America’s Energy Infrastructure Faster, Safer, and Cleaner | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 21, 2023: FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order to Revitalize Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 17, 2023: GSA and DHS formalize partnership to promote sustainability | GSA.gov
- April 4, 2023: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Clean Energy Projects to Revitalize Energy Communities, Support Coal Workers, and Reduce Reliance on Competitors Like China | WhiteHouse.gov
- March 9, 2023: FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Budget Lowers Energy Costs, Combats the Climate Crisis, and Advances Environmental Justice | WhiteHouse.gov
- March 8, 2023: Departments of Energy and Homeland Security Continue Climate Adaptation Collaboration | Energy.gov
- February 23, 2023: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Actions to Expand Offshore Wind Nationally and Harness More Reliable, Affordable Clean Energy | WhiteHouse.gov
- December 19, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes More Than 100 Actions in 2022 to Strengthen Energy Efficiency Standards and Save Families Money | WhiteHouse.gov
- December 15, 2022: Biden-Harris Administration Releases Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook for Clean Energy and Climate Programs | WhiteHouse.gov
- December 7, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces First-Ever Federal Building Performance Standard, Catalyzes American Innovation to Lower Energy Costs, Save Taxpayer Dollars, and Cut Emissions | WhiteHouse.gov
- November 19, 2022: FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces New U.S. Support for Clean Energy in the Mekong Region | WhiteHouse.gov
- November 18, 2022: FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Advances Transmission Buildout to Deliver Affordable, Clean Electricity | WhiteHouse.gov
- November 1, 2022: FACT SHEET: U.S. -UAE Partnership to Accelerate Transition to Clean Energy (PACE) | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 6, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Strengthens the Federal Government’s Resilience to Climate Change Impacts | WhiteHouse.gov
- September 15, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Expand U.S. Offshore Wind Energy | WhiteHouse.gov
- September 15, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Buy Clean Actions to Ensure American Manufacturing Leads in the 21st Century | WhiteHouse.gov
- September 8, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Launches New Climate Portal to Help Communities Navigate Climate Change Impacts | WhiteHouse.gov
- August 18, 2022: STATE FACT SHEETS: How the Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Energy Costs, Creates Jobs, and Tackles Climate Change Across America | WhiteHouse.gov
- August 3, 2022: FACT SHEET: White House Takes Action on Climate by Accelerating Energy Efficiency Projects Across Federal Government | WhiteHouse.gov
- August 1, 2022: Biden-Harris Administration Announces over $1 Billion in Project Selections to Make Communities More Resilient to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events
- August 1, 2022: FACT SHEET: 10 Ways the Biden-Harris Administration Is Making America Resilient to Climate Change | WhiteHouse.gov
- July 20, 2022: FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Executive Actions on Climate to Address Extreme Heat and Boost Offshore Wind | WhiteHouse.gov
- June 30, 2022: FACT SHEET: Health Sector Leaders Join Biden Administration’s Pledge to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 50% by 2030 | WhiteHouse.gov
- June 23, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Launches New Federal-State Offshore Wind Partnership to Grow American-Made Clean Energy | WhiteHouse.gov
- June 9, 2022: FACT SHEET: Tackling Climate Change and Creating Clean Energy Jobs in the Americas | WhiteHouse.gov
- June 8, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Celebrates World Ocean Day with Actions to Conserve America’s Deepest Atlantic Canyon, Cut Plastic Pollution, and Create America’s First-Ever Ocean Climate Action Plan | WhiteHouse.gov
- June 6, 2022: FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Bold Executive Action to Spur Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing | WhiteHouse.gov
- May 23, 2022: FACT SHEET: U.S.- Japan Climate Partnership | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 20, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Creates Cost-Saving Clean Energy Opportunities to Combat Climate Crisis | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 20, 2022: FACT SHEET: Readout of the April National Climate Task Force Meeting | WhiteHouse.gov
- February 2, 2022: U.S. Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development Launch Joint Effort With Puerto Rico to Modernize Energy Grid
- January 31, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Tackles Super-Polluting Methane Emissions | WhiteHouse.gov
- January 12, 2022: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Races to Deploy Clean Energy that Creates Jobs and Lowers Costs | WhiteHouse.gov
- January 12, 2022: Department of Homeland Security Announces Climate Change Professionals Program
- December 8, 2021: FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability | WhiteHouse.gov
- December 2, 2021: Feature Article: Balance of Power—Building a Resilient Electric Grid
- November 2, 2021: U.S. President Biden, European Commission President Von Der Leyen, And UK Prime Minister Johnson Announce Commitment To Addressing Climate Crisis Through Infrastructure Development | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 29, 2021: FACT SHEET: President Biden Renews U.S. Leadership on World Stage at U.N. Climate Conference (COP26) | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 21, 2021: DHS Releases New Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change
- October 21, 2021: Fact Sheet: Prioritizing Climate in Foreign Policy and National Security | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 18, 2021: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Launches Plan to Combat PFAS Pollution | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 15, 2021: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Roadmap to Build an Economy Resilient to Climate Change Impacts | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 12, 2021: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Makes Climate Information and Decision Tools More Accessible | WhiteHouse.gov
- October 7, 2021: DHS Releases New Climate Action Plan to Address the Impacts of Climate Change and Ensure the Department’s Climate Resilience
- October 7, 2021: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Releases Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans from Across Federal Government | WhiteHouse.gov
- September 30, 2021: Coast Guard Awards Energy Performance Contract to Intensify Campus Resilience against Climate Threats at Training Center Petaluma | USCG
- September 23, 2021: DHS Prize Challenges | S&T
- September 23, 2021: DHS Launches National Climate Resilience Prize Competitions
- September 23, 2021: Department of Homeland Security Partners with Environmental Protection Agency to Enforce Phasedown of Climate-Damaging HFCs
- September 18, 2021: Joint US-EU Press Release on the Global Methane Pledge | WhiteHouse.gov
- August 12, 2021: Readout of the Fifth National Climate Task Force Meeting | WhiteHouse.gov
- August 12, 2021: The Coast Guard has Established a Working Group to Focus on Climate Change | USCG.mil
- August 11, 2021: Statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the Need for Reliable and Stable Global Energy Markets | WhiteHouse.gov
- August 5, 2021: Biden Administration Commits Historic $3.46 Billion in Hazard Mitigation Funds to Reduce Effects of Climate Change
- August 5, 2021: FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks | WhiteHouse.gov
- July 19, 2021: FACT SHEET: U.S.-Germany Climate and Energy Partnership | WhiteHouse.gov
- July 8, 2021: Federal Register: Request for Information on Coast Guard Programs, Regulations, and Policies for Addressing Climate Change | USCG.mil
- July 2, 2021: FY20 Coast Guard Sustainability, Energy and Environmental Readiness (SEER) Award Winners | USCG
- June 30, 2021: FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Acts to Address the Growing Wildfire Threat | WhiteHouse.gov
- May 28, 2021: Statement by Secretary Mayorkas on the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget
- May 27, 2021: Departments of Energy and Homeland Security to Collaborate on Climate Mitigation at Federal Facilities | Energy.gov
- May 20, 2021: FACT SHEET: President Biden Directs Agencies to Analyze and Mitigate the Risk Climate Change Poses to Homeowners and Consumers, Businesses and Workers, and the Financial System and Federal Government Itself | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 23, 2021: Remarks by President Biden at the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Session 5: The Economic Opportunities of Climate Action | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 22, 2021: Secretary Mayorkas Announces New DHS Commitments to Address the Climate Crisis at Leaders Summit on Climate
- April 22, 2021: FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 22, 2021: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 21, 2021: Readout of the Third National Climate Task Force Meeting | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 14, 2021: President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Key Administration Leaders on Climate and Transportation | WhiteHouse.gov
- April 9, 2021: Secretary Mayorkas's Statement on FY22 Discretionary Funding Request
- April 1, 2021: DHS Statement on New National Flood Insurance Program Pricing Methodology
- March 18, 2021: Readout of the Second National Climate Task Force Meeting | WhiteHouse.gov
- February 11, 2021: Biden-Harris Administration Launches American Innovation Effort to Create Jobs and Tackle the Climate Crisis | WhiteHouse.gov
- February 11, 2021: Readout of the First National Climate Task Force Meeting | WhiteHouse.gov
- January 27, 2021: Remarks by President Biden Before Signing Executive Actions on Tackling Climate Change, Creating Jobs, and Restoring Scientific Integrity | WhiteHouse.gov
- January 27, 2021: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy | WhiteHouse.gov
- May 20, 2021: Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk | FederalRegister.gov
- May 12, 2021: Executive Order on the Establishment of the Climate Change Support Office | FederalRegister.gov
- February 9, 2021: Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration | FederalRegister.gov
- February 1, 2021: Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad | FederalRegister.gov
- January 25, 2021: Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis | FederalRegister.gov
The DHS Climate Change Action Group is a coordinating body comprised of the Department’s senior leadership that drives urgent action to address the climate crisis and reports directly to the Secretary.
- The Social Cost of Carbon | WhiteHouse.gov
- U.S International Finance Plan | WhiteHouse.gov
- Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad | WhiteHouse.gov
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Efforts | NOAA.gov
- Reports and Resources from the U.S Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) | GlobalChange.gov
- U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit | Climate.gov
- National Integrated Heat Health Information System | Heat.gov