New NOAA climate action plan emphasizes needs of underserved communities

Action Plan, NOAA Administrative Order, new Climate-Ready Nation team to advance adaptation, resilience efforts

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Collage showing climate-related events and scenes. (Image credit: NOAA)

Today, NOAA is further embedding equity in its climate data, information, science, tools and decision support through the release of its Equitable Climate Services Action Plan [Accessible PDF].

The plan aims to expand the reach and accessibility of NOAA’s climate services, enabling the agency to better respond to the climate adaptation and resilience needs of all communities — with an emphasis on historically underserved populations. This plan is the culmination of feedback from NOAA’s climate service users through a Request for Information

From prolonged drought to hazardous flooding and widespread heatwaves, the impacts of climate change are felt far and wide by communities across the U.S. This is especially true for underserved and Tribal and Indigenous communities, who have historically had the least access to the resources needed to build resilience and adapt to climate change.

“NOAA is committed to providing the public with the tools and information necessary to thrive in  a changing climate,“ said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. “NOAA’s Equitable Climate Services Action Plan will ensure that our vital climate services are meeting the needs of all communities, and ultimately help build a more Climate-Ready Nation.”

The action plan has five strategic priorities:

  • Advance awareness and accessibility for users of all disciplines and backgrounds. NOAA will focus on improving equitable access to and awareness of its climate data, information, science and tools. 
  • Ensure data equity in all climate products and services. NOAA recognizes that equitable climate service delivery requires that all communities, regardless of size or location, have access to critical climate information. That’s why we are investing in filling climate data gaps, particularly in rural communities, Alaska, and the Pacific Islands.
  • Meet local climate data needs. NOAA is committed to empowering local businesses, communities and individuals with access to the foundational climate data and support they need to make informed decisions about climate adaptation and resilience based on their community context.
  • Expand climate services to better incorporate the socioeconomic impacts of climate change. NOAA will better support community needs by pairing physical climate science with socioeconomic data, prioritizing equity and investing in the co-production of knowledge and products with decision makers, historically underserved communities and Tribal and Indigenous communities. 
  • Create an enabling environment within NOAA. To successfully engage in this work, NOAA must enable its workforce to embed equity in the climate work that it does, including the space to try new and innovative ways to support climate service users from all walks of life.

“NOAA’s climate services are only as good as the value they provide to our users,” said Jainey K. Bavishi, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator. “NOAA’s Equitable Climate Services Action Plan is a critical first step to ensure these vital resources are more accessible to all communities. Thanks to all those who responded to our Request for Information last summer — your invaluable feedback helped to shape this Action Plan.”

In addition to the launch of this plan, NOAA signed an Administrative Order and established a Climate-Ready Nation team to further advance its Climate-Ready Nation Initiative, which envisions a thriving nation whose prosperity, health, security and continued growth benefit from understanding and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.

For more information about NOAA’s climate services and efforts to build a more Climate-Ready Nation, check out NOAA’s FY22-26 Strategic Plan.