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executive order

President Obama Establishes Task Force and Council on Climate Change Preparedness


President Obama signed an executive order today, directing federal agencies to modernize their programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage lands and waters for climate resilience, provide information, data, and tools to communities and businesses, and plan for climate change related risks.

In order to implement these actions, the President also created two bodies to coordinate federal efforts to prepare for climate impacts. A new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience will advise the President, comprised of state, local, and tribal leaders from across the country (a full list of the members is below).  The task force will be led by the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The executive order also created an Interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience directed to consider the recommendations developed by the Task Force.  The council will include senior officials from more than 25 agencies and will be led by the chair of CEQ, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

The executive order calls for a wide ranging review of federal policies and programs. In particular, agencies may be directed to reform policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters rather than investing in improved resilience. Another specific step called for the in order is an assessment of federal agency programs and policies to identify reforms necessary to make watersheds and ecosystems more resilient to climate impacts while also sequestering carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This announcement is particularly timely as we mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  One directive of the executive order is for federal agencies to think about how they leverage existing federal funding programs, such as disaster relief programs, to support state and local adaptation. For an example of how federal agencies could support adaptation while rebuilding after a natural disaster, see the Center’s analysis of the Sandy Supplemental appropriation (signed into law in January 2013).

The Georgetown Climate Center is a leading resource that seeks to help communities adapt to climate change.  The Center hosts an online Adaptation Clearinghouse with more than 1,000 resources to assist policy makers in developing more resilient communities.   In support of the directives in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and this executive order, the Center is convening a series of workshops bringing together federal, state, and local experts to discuss how federal agencies can support state and local adaptation through existing federal programs.

Members of the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

State Officials:

  • Governor Neil Abercrombie (HI)
  • Governor Jerry Brown (CA)
  • Governor Eddie Calvo (GU)
  • Governor Jay Inslee (WA)
  • Governor Jack Markell (DE)
  • Governor Martin O’Malley (MD)
  • Governor Pat Quinn (IL)
  • Governor Peter Shumlin (VT)

Local Officials:

  • Mayor Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Mayor James Brainard (Carmel, IN)
  • Commissioner Paula Brooks (Franklin County, OH)
  • Supervisor Salud Carbajal (Santa Barbara County, CA)
  • Mayor Frank Cownie (Des Moines, IA)
  • Mayor Bob Dixson (Greensburg, KS)
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Mayor Kristin Jacobs (Broward County, FL)
  • Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA)
  • Mayor Michael Nutter (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Mayor Annise Parker (Houston, TX)
  • Mayor Patsy Parker (Perdido Beach, AL)
  • Mayor Madeline Rogero (Knoxville, TN)
  • Mayor Karen Weitkunat (Fort Collins, CO)
  • Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Hoboken, NJ)

Tribal Officials:

  • Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (MN)
  • Reggie Joule, Mayor, Northwest Arctic Borough (AK)


Delaware Gov. Markell Signs Executive Order to Reduce Emissions and Help State Prepare for Climate Change


On Sept. 12, 2013, Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order 41, “Preparing Delaware for Emerging Climate Impacts and Seizing Economic Opportunities from Reducing Emissions.

The order creates a Governor’s Committee on Climate and Resiliency, which will develop an implementation plan to continue Delaware’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and improve the state’s long-term resilience to flooding and sea-level rise. In addition, the order directs all state agencies to incorporate climate adaptation measures in the siting and design of state-funded projects.

“The science is clear: human activities are significantly contributing to climate change and accelerated sea level rise – and we must take action,” said Governor Markell. “Improving Delaware resiliency is not simply an environmental issue – it is essential to supporting a thriving economy and protecting the health and safety of our residents.  It’s going to take the cooperation and participation of businesses, citizens, county and municipal governments as well as regional and federal entities to improve Delaware’s resiliency and serve as a model for others to replicate.”

Executive Order 41 contains four components:

It establishes the Governor’s Committee on Climate and Resiliency (Committee), which is comprised of many key agency heads, including the Secretaries of the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Agriculture, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Safety and Homeland Security, and State, as well as the Directors of the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Delaware State Housing Authority, and the Office of State Planning Coordination.

It requires the Committee to develop an implementation plan to maintain and build upon Delaware’s leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The plan must ensure that reduction efforts have a positive effect on Delaware’s economy, focusing on approaches that:

  • Secure cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy
  • Improve public health outcomes
  • Increase employment
  • Strengthen manufacturing
  • Enhance overall competitiveness

It requires the Committee to develop actionable, agency-specific recommendations for improving Delaware’s resilience to climate impacts. These recommendations shall include, but are not limited to:

  • Prioritizing the use of natural systems and green infrastructure
  • Sharing best practices with local governments
  • Outreach to residents and businesses about risks and adaptation strategies

It requires that all state agencies incorporate measures for adapting to increased flood heights and sea-level rise in the siting and design of state-funded projects. This requirement applies to new construction and reconstruction of substantially damaged buildings and infrastructure.

The Committee must deliver both the implementation plan and agency recommendations to the Governor no later than December 31, 2014.
Governor Markell provided a keynote address at the Georgetown Climate Center’s State-Federal Workshop on Climate and Energy Policy in February, 2013 where he spoke about Delaware’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency and prepare for climate impacts.

For more information on Delaware’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, visit

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