NASA publishes Climate Action Plan in accordance with Biden executive order

NASA has released a climate action plan that outlines key sustainability priorities and reiterates the agency’s commitment to climate research.

NASA released its climate action plan on Thursday, October 7, along with over 20 other federal agencies.  The climate action plan outlines NASA’s commitments to studying climate change, and how the agency aims to protect its assets against changing climate. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson reiterated the space agency’s historic responsibility to not only exploring the cosmos, but also conducting climate research on our planet. “NASA is committed to safeguarding our mission in the decades to come, and through the data we provide to the world, we’ll help other agencies make sure they can do the same,” said Nelson.

These various climate action plans come as a result of an executive order signed by President Biden during his first week in office. Biden’s executive order directs federal agencies to describe climate-related vulnerabilities, actions the agencies can take to protect themselves against climate change, and reduce energy and water waste in government buildings, along with other climate-related objectives. According to a White House press statement published on Thursday, ”the plans reflect President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis as agencies integrate climate-readiness across their missions and programs and strengthen the resilience of federal assets from the accelerating impacts of climate change.”

NASA’s climate action plan identifies five strategic priorities:

  1. Ensuring access to space
  2. Integrating climate adaptation into NASA’s master plans 
  3. Integrating climate change into risk analysis and resilience planning 
  4. Updating climate modeling to better understand threats and vulnerabilities 
  5. Advancing aeronautics research to reduce contributors to climate change 

(From a NASA press release)

The next steps for the climate action plan include reviews by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These groups will determine that NASA’s climate action plan meets the directives outlined in the President’s executive order, and how to implement the plan into real-world operations.

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