Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience

Press Statement by John Kerry, Secretary of State

Climate change poses a threat to every country on Earth, and we all need to do what we can to take advantage of the small window of opportunity we still have to stave off its worst, most disastrous impacts. But even as we take unprecedented steps to mitigate the climate threat, we also have to ensure our communities are prepared for the impacts we know are headed our way – and the impacts we are already seeing all over the world in the form of heat waves, floods, historic droughts, ocean acidification and more.

Thanks to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, we’ve taken a number of important steps to increase the resilience of American communities. But as the President has always said, this is a global challenge, and we’re not going to get very far if we keep our efforts contained within our borders. That’s why the United States is deeply committed to helping the rest of the world – especially the poorest and most vulnerable nations – adapt to the changing climate as well.

As part of that commitment, last fall, President Obama announced his intention to create a private-public partnership to provide climate data and information to help promote resilient development worldwide. Today we formally launched the Climate Services for Resilient Development partnership, along with the government of the United Kingdom and our partners at the American Red Cross, the Asian Development Bank, Esri, Google, the Inter-American Development and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. In addition to the $34 million we and our partners are putting toward that new partnership, we also announced a series of individual steps we’re taking to make adapting to climate change easier around the globe – including, for example, the volunteer “climate resilience corps” that the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps will be launching in developing countries, and NASA’s release of the first-ever climate modeling system that breaks data down to the country level, which will enable countries to better target their individual adaptation planning efforts.

In the United States, we’ve developed some of the most advanced technologies and scientific expertise on climate change, and we want to make sure these tools are reaching those who need it the most. Each of the commitments announced today will make it easier for people to take control of their own futures and play an active role in helping to prepare their communities, their countries, and ultimately their planet for the changes ahead.

When it comes to confronting climate change, no country should be forced to go it alone – because no country can possibly address this threat alone. It will require all of us – every country, around the world, doing what it can to contribute to the solution. That understanding is at the core of the initiatives we are unveiling today, it’s what is driving our work toward an ambitious global agreement in Paris later this year, and it’s what will continue to guide our leadership in the fight against climate change in the months and years to come.