Secretary Haaland Announces New Policies to Strengthen Climate Adaptation and Resilience Efforts

Last edited 11/29/2023

Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023


WASHINGTON — In remarks today as part of the White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the publication of new policies to strengthen the Department’s ability to meet its mission in the face of a changing climate. In a first-ever effort to factor the climate crisis into all operations, four new Departmental Manual policies clarify and make more consistent the types of climate information used across the Department in order to strengthen and enhance mission-critical decisions and activities.

“These strengthened policies reflect the Department of the Interior’s strong commitment to using science, Indigenous Knowledge, and landscape-scale management as the foundation for Departmental decisions,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “As our public lands face more intense wildfires, droughts, storms and other extreme weather events, improving the Department’s climate-informed decision making is critical to ensuring effective and efficient resource management, while also protecting communities and wildlife.”

On April 16, 2021, Secretary Haaland issued Secretary’s Order 3399 to prioritize action on climate change throughout the Department and to restore transparency and integrity in decision-making processes. This order established the Department’s Climate Task Force to develop a strategy to reduce climate pollution; improve and increase adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change; address current and historic environmental injustice; protect public health; and conserve Department-managed lands. Consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order 13990 and the Department’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, several Department Manual (DM) parts were identified to be updated.

The Department’s first four climate policy updates include:

  • 522 DM 1, which emphasizes increasing need for Adaptive Management, which is a process of regularly evaluating the effects of management actions on resources to improve outcomes, under climate change. It also clarifies responsibilities of the Adaptive Management Working Group.
  • 523 DM 1, which was revised to re-establish Departmental climate adaptation policy. The focus is to emphasize that consideration of changing climate is the default for planning and decision-making to support adaptation and resilience.
  • 526 DM 1, which was revised to reinforce the need to apply high-quality climate information and consider climate uncertainty in resource management planning and decisions. The chapter creates a new Climate Science Applications Coordination Team.
  • 604 DM 1, which was revised to strengthen consideration of climate change in landscape-level decision-making. Importantly, it introduces opportunities to use managed ecological transformation approaches as well as nature-based solutions to reduce climate change risks.

These policies focus on climate adaptation and resilience in contrast with climate mitigation, which is focused on stopping or reducing the change to the climate itself. Approaches to climate change adaptation will evolve as science informs our understanding of climate change risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities.


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