America’s farmers and ranchers can be active partners in solving the climate crisis by sequestering carbon in their soils and adopting climate stewardship practices. Many are already providing valuable climate and ecosystems benefits, but they need the federal government’s support to do it at scale. Congress must invest generously in financial and technical assistance, education, and research to encourage agricultural producers to implement climate-smart agriculture practices.
Because states and local governments largely have authority over the design and construction of buildings, the federal government can best facilitate building decarbonization by providing financial incentives and technical support, while setting goals and requirements for the federal building stock. These policies will boost local economic development, create high-quality, good-paying jobs, and improve quality of life, especially for disproportionately exposed, frontline, and vulnerable communities.
The scale of the climate crisis demands that we use all available tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible. The United States should prioritize a transition to clean energy while encouraging CCUS and DAC to remove excess past emissions, reduce emissions from hard-to-abate sectors, and support the developing world’s efforts to decarbonize. These measures must achieve clear climate benefits and be part of an overall strategy to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions.
The United States must invest in a strong climate science enterprise and expand Earth monitoring programs that form the basis for projections of climate-related risk. The long-term strength of climate science will also depend on investing in a talented and diverse STEM workforce and safeguarding scientific integrity and science-informed federal policy.
Congress should confront the nation’s rising disaster risks with a unified, all-of-government approach that helps communities make smarter land use decisions; rewards use of risk-based building codes and standards for land use and development; and invests in resilience before disasters strike. Congress also must prioritize assistance to frontline communities and accelerate the pace of recovery so that communities rebuild stronger.
Congressional action remains imperative to foster innovation and drive clean energy deployment and infrastructure investment, including to modernize and expand the electric grid; correct failures in wholesale power markets; and ensure that low-income communities, communities of color, and deindustrialized communities reap the benefits of a cleaner, more resilient power sector.
Equitable and just climate policy must do more than cut carbon pollution—it must tackle the legacy of environmental racism and build a clean energy economy that achieves tangible improvements in people’s lives. Federal policymakers must develop and implement climate solutions in a way that meaningfully involves and values the experience and ideas of environmental justice (EJ) communities.
For the United States to meet its goals for decarbonization and climate resilience, private investment must shift away from activities that exacerbate the climate crisis and focus on the deployment of clean technologies and resilient infrastructure. Congress also must ensure the financial system is resilient to the economic transition and climate impacts to come.
The United States must invest in making communities more flood resilient by restoring natural floodplains and reducing the risks of loss of life and property in floods. The federal government must develop accurate and precise information on current and future flood risk and use risk-based flood standards to help communities decide how and where to grow and rebuild after disasters.
Bolstering our nation’s health systems for the climate crisis will require national planning and global leadership, along with investments in community preparedness and the resilience of hospitals and health infrastructure. The federal government must expand resources for public health departments, health facilities, and households to increase physical, social, and mental health resilience.