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Climate Adaptation blog

One Year Later, Progress on Climate Adaptation

| GSA Blog Team
Post filed in: Climate

A big part of tackling the climate crisis is reducing emissions. GSA is making great strides on that front from spurring demand for made-in-America clean construction materials to using more carbon-pollution free electricity to power our operations. GSA is working to lead by example as part of a comprehensive effort to make the federal government carbon neutral by 2050.

However, mitigating the severity of climate change by reducing emissions is only part of the story, because we also need to be preparing for the impacts that climate change is already making - now and in the future. 

It was a year ago that GSA released our plan for managing climate change risks.

The extreme weather events we experienced all around us this year remind us how important it is to plan for the worsening impacts of climate change.

At GSA we are the custodians of valuable assets the federal government uses in its delivery of services to the American public. These include:

  • Hundreds of millions of square feet of workspace.
  • Historic properties.
  • Hundreds of thousands of vehicles that perform all kinds of duties.
  • Mission-critical IT infrastructure.
  • Supply contracts that generate billions of dollars in annual sales to our industry partners.

It is our responsibility to ensure our facilities and supply chains are robust to the changing climate.

Climate adaptation is how we live up to that responsibility. It is the other part of the climate story happening now.

One year later, the White House reported new climate-readiness actions GSA and other agencies are taking to bolster the government’s adaptation to climate change. The fact sheet highlights how GSA has incorporated climate risk requirements into several major solicitations with an approximate combined spending of more than $400 million.

Over the past year, we have worked internally across the agency and hand in hand with our agency partners - our federal colleagues we think of as our customers - to both assess and manage climate risks.

Here at GSA, for example, we have:

  • Integrated climate risk into the long-term real property, acquisition, and digital objectives of GSA’s latest strategic plan to reduce future climate-related financial risks.
  • Required contractors to submit climate risk management plans and say how they plan to address identified risks.
  • Conducted climate literacy training with the offices responsible for implementing our climate change risk management plan.
  • Reconvened a working group to develop our next five-year environmental justice strategy.

The federal government is leading the nation's effort to combat the climate crisis and to spur the creation of good jobs and stimulate clean energy industries by revitalizing federal sustainability.

As GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan noted last year, “from deadly hurricanes and floods to devastating droughts and wildfires, the impacts of climate change are already being felt across the country.” 

“While we continue to lead by example to decarbonize the federal footprint, we also need to lead the way when it comes to making our facilities and supply chains more resilient to a changing climate.”

GSA is developing adaptive capacity to manage climate change risks and secure federal real property and supply chain investments, being good stewards of those valuable assets you trust us to take care of.

Stay updated on our all-of-government approach to sustainability through monthly spotlights.