The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Climate Action Plan, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s approach to confronting the climate crisis. The comprehensive strategy looks to reduce the agency’s energy and carbon footprint in order to build more equitable, efficient and sustainable housing infrastructure.
On Thurs., Nov. 18, Secretary Marcia L. Fudge virtually attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), held in Glascow, to announce HUD’s plan.
“We are in the midst of a global climate crisis and we have limited time to respond. HUD’s Climate Action Plan will meet the urgency of this moment,” said HUD Secretary Fudge at the event. “The U.S. is leading the fight against climate change, and in Glasgow, we will set the example at home and around the world that HUD and the entire Biden-Harris Administration is committed to delivering climate justice in our communities.”
According to HUD, the Climate Action Plan was developed in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and the President’s Justice40 Initiative to advance environmental justice and racial equity.
HUD looks to reduce climate pollution; increase resilience to the impacts of climate change; protect public health; deliver environmental justice; and spur well-paying union jobs and economic growth.
HUD’s newly established Climate and Environmental Justice Council, composed of Assistant Secretaries from across the agency, will enable an all-hands-on-deck at HUD to deliver climate and environmental justice throughout the Department’s work.
1. HUD Climate Communities Initiative
Cities and localities are on the front lines of the climate emergency, and low-income residents and people of color often bear more of the impact when climate-related disasters strike HUD, in partnership with local leaders, is announcing a suite of resources, support and tools to help cities respond equitably to the climate crisis. This includes a climate resilience toolkit, implementation models, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, stakeholder engagement with underserved communities, and direct support to a cohort of climate cities.
2. Green Building and Electrification
In order to assist low-income households and communities of color, which are too often left out when it comes to advancing technology and green building, HUD will align building and substantial rehabilitation incentives and requirements, with energy efficiency and equitable decarbonization goals, including the requirement of new construction with new funds to achieve green building standards. HUD will also finalize rulemaking requiring strengthened minimum energy standards as required by statute. This will ensure that HUD-assisted households are not left behind as we shift to a low-carbon future.
In addition, HUD is announcing a partnership with the Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge. The Better CLIMATE Challenge is an extension of the Better Buildings Challenge. Three HUD partners (King County Housing Authority, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation and Community Housing Partners) have joined this climate challenge and have pledged to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50% in 10 years.
3. Good Green Jobs
HUD will strengthen partnerships with the Department of Labor, Department of Energy and unions to ensure robust Green Jobs programs in the communities HUD serves and will devote additional resources related to green workforce development training. In addition, HUD has recently launched the Building Futures pilot at two Public Housing sites. This pilot is designed to identify pathways to meaningful long-term employment in green jobs and construction industries for Public Housing residents.
4. Healthy Housing
HUD will revise environmental review policies to ensure consideration of climate- and environmental justice-related hazards and health risks in all proposed site selection and placement of new assistance activities. HUD will also continue to collaborate with local agencies and nongovernmental organizations to help the impacted community identify available resources and appropriate solutions to eliminate hazards and improve residents’ overall health.