Climate Change Resilience

E.O. 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, outlines Federal agency responsibilities in the areas of supporting climate resilient investment; managing lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience; providing information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience; and planning.

E.O. 13693 Section 3(h)(viii) states that as part of building efficiency, performance, and management, agencies should incorporate climate-resilient design and management elements into the operation, repair, and renovation of existing buildings and the design of new buildings. In addition, Section 13(a) requires projected impacts of climate change on mission critical water, energy, communication, and transportation demands be identified and addressed. In addition, those climate impacts in operational preparedness planning for major facilities and operations must be considered. Section 13(b) requires the potential cost and risk be calculated to mission associated with operations that do not take into account such information and consider that cost in agency decision-making.

Climate Change Resilience at NIH

Climate Change Resilience continues to be developed at NIH to take actions in preparing for potential changes that could negatively impact operations and the medical community. Additional work continues to promote global health and encourage preparations for extreme weather events induced by climate change. NIH has achieved the following accomplishments:

  • Collaborated on the Institute of Medicine - National Academies of Sciences Project: Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of Academic Biomedical Research Communities.
  • Furthered development of the data and tools on climate and health within the Climate Resilience Toolkit under the leadership of the Global Change Research Program Interagency Climate Change and Human Health Group, which is co-chaired by NIEHS.
  • Shared Climate Change Resilience guidance document with the extramural community.
  • Initiated the HHS Climate and Health Data Innovation Challenge, in partnership on the Challenge.Gov website. This is a series of challenge competitions to help physicians and other health professionals, health care systems, local decision makers, and the general public understand climate change impacts.
  • These activities also help find opportunities for health-promoting actions that also help mitigate climate change. Each challenge within the series will be designed to improve understanding of climate change’s health impacts, increase resilience to those impacts, or raise awareness of the linkages between actions that mitigate climate change and actions that improve our health.
  • NIEHS has launched the Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge, which invites innovators to develop data visualization tools and/or maps that can connect current science on climate change to the exposure pathways for environmental hazards.
  • Promoted National Public Health Week Focus for 2015: Climate Change:
    • Release of Draft Climate Health Assessment
    • 20 health resilience tools on White House Climate Resilience website
    • Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Toolkit
    • 150 health-related data sets on
    • 14 commitments from private sector, including Google, Microsoft, ESRI,; and,
    • Round table and commitments: Deans of Medical, Nursing, Public Health Schools
  • NIH Office of Research Facilities:
    • Initiated construction of an industrial water storage tank to support the campus in the event of temporary water supply loss was started;
    • Initiated construction of a chilled water storage system reducing the number of chillers 2015;
    • Initiated improved management techniques for using scales to weigh refrigerants in the CUP and maintain detailed logs of usage and loss; and
    • Continued development of a study to evaluate the potential for energy and GHG reductions by changing laboratory operations and facility support systems.
    • Began developing a Climate Change Resilience Plan for the Bethesda campus, and collaborated with NIEHS to develop a Climate Change Resilience Plan for the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

​​​Click here to view the 2019 NIH Sustainability Implementation Plan