WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris Administration Hosts First-Ever White House Climate Resilience Summit and Releases National Climate Resilience Framework
This week, President Biden fulfilled a commitment he made in June to host the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities. The summit brought together senior Administration officials and representatives from more than 25 states, territories, and Tribal Nations from across the country to discuss the needs and opportunities for future climate resilience efforts.
At the summit, the Biden-Harris Administration debuted the National Climate Resilience Framework designed to guide and align climate resilience investments and activities by the federal government and its partners. The Administration also announced more than $500 million in dedicated climate resilience funding, as well as commitments from more than a dozen philanthropic organizations to continue to work with the federal government, communities, and local leaders on opportunities to further advance shared policy priorities and climate resilience goals.
These actions underscore the Administration's commitment to solutions that will both dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage climate threats, and recognize the importance of locally tailored, community-driven strategies.
See what leaders from across the country are saying about the Summit, Framework, and other climate resilience announcements below:
Yoca Arditi-Rocha, The CLEO Institute: "Florida, on the frontline of climate change, knows that resilience isn't just an option; it's a necessity. We applaud the National Resilience Framework for fortifying our communities against rising heat, tides, and fiercer storms. With the world watching, the US can lead by example, crafting a roadmap to a future ready to tackle the climate crisis head-on." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Harriet Festing, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Anthropocene Alliance: "Climate change is crisis of unprecedented significance for everyone – but some more than others. Low income and historically marginalized communities are the first affected and worst impacted. The National Climate Resilience Framework will be an essential resource for non-profit and community-based organizations as they seek solutions to the crisis of global warming." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Katharine Hayhoe, Distinguished Professor, Texas Tech University, Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy: "Extreme weather events costing billions are now five times more likely than they were just a few decades ago. Our cities now grapple with intense heatwaves, our air is choked with wildfire smoke, and communities nationwide are facing the brunt of heavy downpours, stronger hurricanes, and rising seas. Climate change isn't a distant threat any more; its effects are tangible and immediate. Yet, as the last National Climate Assessment concludes, we are not adapting quickly enough to the changes already occurring today, let alone those likely to occur tomorrow. Our existing infrastructure, health systems, and even our food and water supplies were all designed for a planet that no longer exists. Today, climate is changing faster than at any point in human history and this affects us all, but it doesn't affect us all equally. Those most impacted include low-income, indigenous, and people of color who are often at the epicenter of such disasters. This proactive and visionary Climate Resilience framework will advance climate adaptation and resilience at the pace and scale required. Without intervention from the federal government and other entities, threats to our well-being will intensify. Every step we take today directly reduces the impact tomorrow." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Alice Hill, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations: "President Biden's National Climate Resilience Framework—for the first time in our country's history—establishes a national approach to preparing for climate disasters. The framework is an important and historic step towards building a more resilient nation." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Elizabeth Losos, Co-convenor, The Resilience Roadmap Project, Duke University: "Though the work of building climate resilience will require the efforts of every single county within the US, the value of federal leadership cannot be overstated. The National Resilience Frameworks is a welcome roadmap, identifying the opportunities for action needed to move forward a nationally-comprehensive, locally-tailored, and community-driven resilience strategy." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Eric Schwaab, Senior Vice President, Environmental Defense Fund: "This framework is a key step in building climate resilience across the nation. It is imperative that we continue to prioritize nature-based solutions, equity in decision-making processes and government collaboration as we work to strengthen America's climate resilience. The Biden administration's commitment to tackling climate change is unprecedented. EDF applauds this important progress, and we look forward to working with the administration to build climate resilience for high-risk coastal and watershed communities, in drought impacted regions and across forest communities and ecosystems." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Bruce Stein, Chief Scientist, National Wildlife Federation: "The National Climate Resilience Framework offers common-sense steps we can take to reduce climate risks and sustain our communities and ecosystems. Enhancing the nation's resilience to climate change will save lives and save money. Many of these recommendations, such as protecting the sources of our drinking water and safeguarding our forests from massive wildfires, will also help ensure that America's wildlife can thrive into the future." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Shana Udvardy, Climate Resilience Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists: "This framework represents how the federal government is moving beyond traditional disaster response and into working in concert with all levels of government to proactively implement solutions that are more equitable, strategic and inclusive; and that combined, will better prepare the nation to withstand extreme weather events, as well as the slower-moving climate impacts like sea level rise." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Public and Private Sectors
Matt Bucchin, LEED Green Associate, Halff, Deputy Practice Leader for Planning and Landscape Architecture: "The release of the National Climate Resilience Framework by the Biden-Harris Administration sets a firm foundation for a whole-government approach to addressing the critically important issue of advancing climate resilience for Americans today and tomorrow. This framework combined with the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities expands and accelerates community-driven resilience solutions for our nation's communities. Moving forward, the framework provides a blueprint of key values, priorities and objectives that will help planners embed climate resilience and equity into all planning and policy efforts in the years ahead." [Statement, 9/29/23]
Jackie Higgins, Head, Public Sector Solutions NA, Swiss Re Management Ltd: "Being invited to participate in the White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities was a great honour and an opportunity to showcase the often unnoticed role of our industry in building climate resilience. We see that the impact of climate change is already with us in the form of increasingly frequent heatwaves and wildfires and more severe tropical cyclones and floods so ignoring our climate adaptation needs or giving up on them is not an option. Insurance supports climate adaptation initiatives by absorbing economic losses, helping sustain revenue and cost savings and protecting communities and ecosystems with funds to support recovery after cat events. We hope that the work initiated by the White House will lead to a multi-stakeholder effort on scaling up climate adaptation efforts and Swiss Re is delighted to be part of this work." [Statement, 9/29/2023]
Jesse M. Keenan, Favrot II Associate Professor of Sustainable Real Estate and Urban Planning, Tulane University: "The National Resilience Framework represents an important step forward in mobilizing federal, state, local, tribal and civic resources to prepare for and respond to climate impacts. The National Resilience Framework is the the outcome of years of tested and successful policies and programs that have helped us learn how to both mitigate and adapt to climate change." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Gabriel Solmer, Director, Portland Water Bureau: "I'm inspired by the commitment to building resilient resource infrastructure on display today, from federal officials to advocates like the Portland Water Bureau's own leading climate expert Kavita Heyn. Kavita's participation in the plenary and the breakout session on the Built Environment is already generating ideas for further innovation as we at the water bureau seek to enhance climate resilience. These takeaways will inform the work we're already doing to provide excellent drinking water for generations to come." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Roy Wright, President & Chief Executive Officer, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: "Americans face growing impacts from the natural perils of severe weather and wildfire, including more damage to our homes and businesses and displacement of families that can lead to long and costly recoveries. Increased focus and investment in building both individual and communal resilience can prevent future damage, limiting the catastrophic impact of these events. Aligning federal, state and non-governmental players in both better preparing and protecting our communities ahead of severe weather and wildfire and rebuilding stronger following natural disasters helps advance efforts to boost resilience and ease the path to recovery for generations to come." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Priyah Zachariah, Chief Resilience and Sustainability Officer, City of Houston: "The White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, the first of its kind, was a novel event for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it closes the gaps between two scales - federal policy and local action. Second, as many of the speakers underlined, even as 2023 continues to break climate records of the most terrible kind - the collective note to ourselves and the communities we represent is that we can grow stronger together as we being tested through climate adversity, through the right policies, tools and innovative approaches to service delivery. And finally, the most encouraging for local resilience practitioners like myself is that the federal government is actively listening to us, is looking for guidance from the lessons learned in our neighborhoods, and is a full partner in this journey. This is a full throated support of resilience in action on the ground so together we can make our policies sharper and the outcomes truly meaningful for those that we collectively serve."
City of Madison, WI, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway: "We are so grateful for the Biden-Harris Administration's dedication to centering climate investments, and of course for holding the Summit today. And of course this framework around resilience I think – I hope – sparks a national conversation and lets people find themselves in the work that this Administration is doing and in partnership." [Remarks, 9/28/23]
Maine State Representative Morgan Rielly: "I was honored to be invited to the White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities. President Biden's Executive Order regarding the establishment of the American Climate Corps is a crucial step forward in how we achieve climate resilient communities, especially in our rural states and counties. State Climate Corps, like the Maine Climate Corps, will play a key role with Corps members aiding small communities in resilience planning and emergency management community assistance. Climate Corps will help to fill gaps in human staffing and provide additional financial resources to communities in need. I look forward to working with the Biden Administration by supporting the American Climate Corps and continuing the conversations had at the summit as we build together a climate resilient Nation." [Statement, 9/29/2023]
Helen Chin, President, Communities First Fund: "Climate change affects us all, but it hits communities of color and low-wealth households the hardest. Addressing this disparity is crucial, as underserved communities lack the resources to combat climate impacts. The National Climate Resilience Framework, the Biden-Harris administration's executive actions, and historic federal investments are paving the way toward a more just, equitable, and climate-resilient future. The Communities First Infrastructure Alliance is committed to advocating for climate-smart investments and supporting communities through the Communities First Fund to address this urgent challenge." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Micah K?ne, CEO and President, Hawai'i Community Foundation: "Community foundations are uniquely positioned as trusted institutions to connect and align the efforts of government, the private sector, and communities to address the impacts of climate change. These impacts are broader than environmental, they will impact every sector of our society as everything on earth depends on a stable climate. We are encouraged to see the Biden-Harris Administration engage in this critical work. Building climate resilience in our communities will require all sectors of society to participate and philanthropy can only be successful with the active participation from the government sector." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Roger Kim, President, Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund and Climate Equity Action Fund: "Delivering on the promise of the administration's Climate Resilience Framework will hinge on the philanthropic sector increasing investments to organizations with capacities to lead large-scale community engagement programs and proven leadership to ensure a clean energy economy will have equitable benefits to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI and immigrant communities. We have launched the Equitable Federal Implementation Fund with plans to swiftly deploy over $30 million in catalytic funding to community-based organizations. We call on our colleagues across the philanthropic sector to heed the urgency of investments in diverse community leadership. It's essential to achieving the clean energy transition and climate resilience." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Nancy Lindborg, President and CEO, The Davis and Lucile Packard Foundation: "The administration's new National Climate Resilience Framework provides an essential roadmap to help focus and align federal and non-federal action toward the shared vision of a safer, greener, more equitable, and vibrant nation. That vision requires an urgent focus on enabling communities to be more resilient in the face of increasingly severe fires, droughts and storms, with action well ahead of the disasters that devastate families and set back progress for years." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Bryan Lipper, CEO, Humboldt Area Foundation: "The courageous combination of federal investments in climate programs alongside this national resilience framework demonstrates historic public commitments to avert the climate crisis already before us. Now, it's time for philanthropy to step-up in unprecedented and brave ways, including substantially increasing endowment payouts. We need to empower grantees and other local partners to lead the way with trust, true-cost funding and multi-year general operating support. This means freeing them from philanthropic bureaucracy and discontinuing harmful practices like designing bespoke programs rather than building on what's worked. Above all—we need to invest in Indigenous leadership and solutions." [Statement, 9/28/23]
Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris Administration Hosts First-Ever White House Climate Resilience Summit and Releases National Climate Resilience Framework Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/365707