The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released its Climate Action Plan as part of the Biden Administration’s “whole of government” approach to confronting the climate crisis on multiple fronts. The plan is a comprehensive strategy to reduce the agencies energy use and carbon footprint in the coming years.
The new plan was released by HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who virtually joined other world leaders and business leaders for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, United Kingdom. The plan affirmed the Administration’s commitment to “deliver climate justice by increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities, investing in green buildings, and to create good-paying jobs in new industries.”
“We are in the midst of a global climate crisis and we have limited time to respond. HUD’s Climate Action Plan will meet the urgency of this moment,” Fudge said. “The U.S. is leading the fight against climate change, and in Glasgow, we will set the example at home and around the world that HUD and the entire Biden-Harris Administration is committed to delivering climate justice in our communities.”
The plan was developed as a response to Executive Order No. 14008, called the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, and directs the HUD to “implement a broad approach to the climate crisis that reduces climate pollutions; increases resilience to the impacts of climate change; protects public health; delivers environmental justice; and spurs well-paying union jobs and economic growth.”
The HUD has also created a new committee—called the Climate and Environmental Justice Council—consisting of Assistant Secretaries from the agency to implement and track the actions detailed in the plan.
Key takeaways from the plan are:
HUD Climate Communities Initiative: Using a climate resilience toolkit, models, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, the HUD will make sure low-income and communities of color are included in the plan as they shoulder more of the impact when natural disaster hit.
Strengthening Disaster Resilience: The HUD is also updating floodplain requirements with the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and will focus on sustainable disaster recovery efforts.
Green Building and Electrification: To achieve green building standards, the HUD will set new minimum energy standards. These standards are intended to be followed by new homes and funds will be available as HUD properties are rehabilitated to bring them up to speed.
Good Green Jobs: The HUD will strengthen new partnerships with the Department of Labor and Department of Energy to promote “Green Jobs” programs in the communities served by the HUD and has committed additional resources to developing green workforce training programs.
Healthy Housing: The HUD will review current policies to ensure that they have a green-first perspective while the agency will continue to interact with local agencies and non-governmental organizations to “identify available resources and appropriate solutions to eliminate hazards and improve residents’ overall health.”