Two recently issued Executive Orders establish guidelines for Federal agencies to respond to the risks and mitigate the potential impacts of climate change. For several years now, SERDP and ESTCP have been proactively investing in the science and technologies that will enable the Department of Defense (DoD) to meet the requirements of both Executive Orders.
The Executive Order Taking Action to Protect Communities and Reduce the Cost of Future Flood Disasters issued January 30, 2015, seeks to reduce the costs of future flood disasters by providing Federal agencies with approaches to establish flood elevations and hazard areas used in decision making. Draft FEMA guidelines developed for this Executive Order state the desired approach to determine the flood elevation and flood hazard area in riverine and coastal floodplains is a climate-informed science approach. Using this approach to prepare for climate change can help agencies evaluate alternatives to locating infrastructure in riverine and coastal floodplains, better manage flood risks, and minimize impacts and costs over time.
In coordination with the efforts of the other Federal science initiatives, SERDP has been investing in research to ensure DoD has the necessary science and tools to support climate change-related vulnerability and impact assessments. A suite of SERDP projects is developing methodologies and tools to assess the physical effects of sea level rise (SLR) and storm surge and the impacts to mission-essential infrastructure over a broad range of geographical settings and climate conditions. SERDP is also developing methodologies for regionalizing global SLR scenarios and estimating plausible future extreme water levels due to SLR and other contributing phenomena.
A second Executive Order issued March 15, 2015, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, will reduce the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable sources. Complementing this initiative, several major Federal suppliers are announcing commitments to cut their own GHG emissions.
ESTCP has ongoing investments in evaluating building energy efficiency technologies, distributed renewable energy generation, and microgrids. These demonstrations of emerging technologies in a real-world environment will help the DoD to respond to the challenges set forth in this new Executive Order. The results of these projects also will allow installation managers to make informed investment decisions to increase energy efficiency and the generation of energy from renewable sources, resulting in significant greenhouse gas reductions by DoD and its suppliers.