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GSA Plan Addresses Climate Change Impact on Facilities


By Dan Hounsell Green

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently published its Climate Change Risk Management Plan, in conjunction with 20 other agencies, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. It is one step toward the whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis. The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized the revitalization of federal agency climate adaptation and resilience planning efforts. 

The GSA plan outlines actions that will help it adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and increasing extreme weather events, and minimize the risks of a changing climate, like increasing costs due to damaged buildings and supply chains. The plan is also designed to integrate into GSA’s enterprise risk management activities, ensuring climate risk oversight is a part of the agency’s established processes. 

“From deadly hurricanes and floods to devastating droughts and wildfires, the impacts of climate change are already being felt across the country,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “While we continue to lead by example to decarbonize the federal footprint, we also need to lead the way when it comes to making our facilities and supply chains more resilient to a changing climate.”  

GSA’s plan defines the agency’s top vulnerabilities to climate change: real property, information and communications technology supply chains, water and wastewater utilities, transportation and transit access, and global supply chains and their infrastructure. The plan lays out GSA strategies and actions to embed climate risk management practices into the agency’s operations. Some examples include: 

 

  • - Develop criteria and metrics to consider environmental justice in real property, services, and supply business decisions. 
  • - Use climate science to partner with GSA customers on climate-ready facilities, products and services to achieve their missions in a changing climate.  
  • - Compile building elevation data across GSA’s portfolio to assess flooding risks and integrate this data into information systems and asset business planning processes.  

  • - Integrate considerations for the financial effects of the physical and transition risks of climate change into formal agency decision-making processes. 

  • - Enhance GSA’s Building Assessment Tool to identify, quantify and prioritize climate change risks and liabilities. 

  • - Review government-wide telecommunications and information technology acquisitions $100 million and greater to ensure climate risk is addressed in their supply chains. 

GSA can play a key role in reducing climate risks across the federal government by convening conversations with its customers and industry partners. As a premier provider of facilities, products, and services to the federal government, GSA will partner with its customer agencies as they identify and share resilience requirements at their mission-critical sites and in their supply chains. The agency will also work with its suppliers to ensure they are addressing climate change risks in the delivery of critical products and services to federal customers. 

 

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