Home » Biden-⁠Harris Administration Expands Use of Nature-Based Solutions to Better Protect Communities from the Impacts of Climate Change

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Expands Use of Nature-Based Solutions to Better Protect Communities from the Impacts of Climate Change

Today, during the 28th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (COP28), the Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to advance nature-based climate solutions. There is no President in history who has done more to tackle climate change than President Biden. As a result of his efforts, the United States is once again leading the world in addressing the climate crisis, building resilience, and preserving nature for communities today and for future generations.

Nature plays a critical role in expanding the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold efforts to tackle the climate crisis, make our nation more resilient to extreme weather, and strengthen communities and local economies. For example, healthy forests reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, clean our air, and store carbon. Urban forests can provide much needed respite from intense heat, reduce cooling costs, and provide jobs to the local community. Coastal marshes and dunes can reduce storm surge, slow flooding, and provide habitat and recreational opportunities. These and other nature-based solutions are good for society and good for the planet.

The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to support nature-based solutions in the United States and across the globe:

  • Joining a global platform to advance nature-based solutions:  At COP28, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory announced that the United States is joining the partnership to Enhance Nature-Based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation (ENACT). The partnership was launched at COP27 last year by the Egyptian COP Presidency, the Government of Germany, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with Norway, Canada, Japan, Korea, Slovenia, Malawi, and the European Union as initial partnership members. The United States will contribute to the platform’s efforts to advance nature-based solutions that can enhance the resilience of at least 1 billion at-risk people, secure up to 2.4 billion hectares of healthy natural ecosystems, and increase global greenhouse gas mitigation efforts.
  • Making resilient, climate-smart infrastructure with nature-based solutions: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum to executive branch agencies that, for the first time, guides them to consider nature-based solutions when designing resilient infrastructure. The memo emphasizes that nature-based solutions should not be an afterthought in the climate fight, but rather a starting point for building resilience, to ensure communities benefit from investments for decades to come.
  • Releasing a new guide to funding a nature-based solutions resources: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released the Nature-Based Solutions Resource Guide 2.0, an updated compilation of information and programs to equip communities and agencies with successful implementation examples, tools, and evidence to advance effective nature-based solutions, and to provide communities with information on potential funding opportunities. The guide now includes nearly 300 resources that can support nature-based solutions, and provides a snapshot of 140 funding programs that could continue to support nature-based solutions. The updated guide includes examples and best practices on the use of nature-based solutions to reduce heat risk and fire risk, and to support jobs and equity.
  • Launching the Department of the Interior’s Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap and policy: The Department of the Interior rolled out a Nature-based Solutions Roadmap, an online tool created in partnership with Duke University that provides strategies, training resources, and successful examples for adopting nature-based solutions throughout the United States. The Department will publish a new policy to prioritize nature-based solutions across its bureaus and offices. The policy will provide land managers and decision makers with guidance on using nature-based climate solutions, and will center collaborative partnerships, equity, environmental justice, and the use of the best available evidence.
  • Enhancing tools for communities to better plan for and respond to the impacts of climate change: Newly launched features in the Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation portal provide enhanced connectivity to U.S. federal funding opportunities and programs, including for nature-based solutions. The portal’s Assessment Tool includes new data from FEMA’s National Risk Index, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Billion Dollar Disasters, and important information to help communities prepare for extreme cold. In addition, new functions in the interactive Atlas of the Fifth National Climate Assessment provide the most up-to-date climate knowledge and allow users to visualize and use future climate data at decision-relevant scales.

President Biden is committed to unlocking the full potential of nature-based solutions, and these new actions build on the work that the Biden-Harris Administration has done so far. That includes helping create the G7 Alliance for Nature-Positive Economies to elevate the critical role of nature in underpinning strong economies, and drive global progress to advance nature-based solutions.

At COP27 last year, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled the first-ever Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap for America. Over the past 12 months, the Administration has prioritized actions to implement this roadmap, including by protecting and conserving natural areas, advancing reforestation, restoring marshes, and managing farms, fisheries, and forests more sustainably.


Unlocked Funding for Nature-Based Solutions

In the past year, billions of dollars from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda have been made available to support nature-based solutions. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency’s $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund will deploy clean technology and nature-based solutions to combat climate change, while also delivering benefits such as flood and urban heat mitigation, job training, and brownfield redevelopment to communities. Leveraging the power of the private sector, President Biden and King Charles III of the United Kingdom secured a $1 billion commitment from private sector investors to make climate progress through agroforestry, sustainable water management and other nature-based solutions. President Biden also launched the Fund for Nature, a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank to finance analytics, project design, capacity building, and natural capital valuation to speed nature-based solutions across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Led with Federal Facilities and Assets

This year, CEQ instructed all federal agencies to explore how to build nature-based adaptation and resilience solutions into their facilities and land and water management through their 2024-2027 Climate Adaptation Plans. Agency Climate Adaptation Plans will be published in early 2024, and agencies will be required to regularly report on progress. The U.S. Department of Defense also updated major facility and base management policies to emphasize the use of nature-based solutions.  

Trained the Workforce

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced $60 million to build a climate-ready workforce. AmeriCorps and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service launched a $15 million Forest Corps, as part of President Biden’s new American Climate Corps program, to engage young adults in wildland fire prevention, restoration, and other natural and cultural resource management projects. Other federal agencies supported additional capacity building efforts to build nature-based solutions skills to support federal budget officers, water utilities, hazard management, climate-smart agriculture, forestry, and local communities.

Prioritized Research, Innovation, Knowledge, and Adaptive Learning

Since the launch of the National Roadmap, federal agencies have released at least 77 new information resources that close evidence and knowledge gaps for nature-based solutions. Recognizing that Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities have innovated nature-based solutions since time immemorial, the White House released the first-ever Federal Guidance on Indigenous Knowledge. The White House continues to direct agencies to appropriately consult and engage Tribal Nations and other Indigenous Knowledge holders on ways to advance nature-based solutions. Additionally, the unprecedented U.S. National Nature Assessment is underway, inviting experts from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and ways of knowing to co-author this major assessment of U.S. lands, waters, and wildlife and the benefits they provide.

Updated Policies to Accelerate Nature-Based Solutions

OMB updated cross-governmental guidance on benefit-cost analysis in regulatory review and federal investments, removing barriers to fair consideration of nature-based solutions. OMB also opened for public comment proposed guidance on accounting for the costs and benefits of ecosystem services in policy decisions, which are particularly associated with nature-based solutions. The role that nature can play in flood risk reduction was recognized in the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development and FEMA proposed rules regarding the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force recently announced an all-of-government resolution recognizing coral reefs as national natural infrastructure, and called on states and territories to invest in reefs as part of hazard mitigation and infrastructure development. Also, in the past year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, Department of the Navy, FEMA, and U.S. Forest Service have adopted new policies and guidance that recognize or emphasize the use of nature-based solutions. These solutions were further embedded in U.S. climate policies and actions through the first-ever National Climate Resilience Framework.

Source : Whitehouse