Five Ways the Department is Helping Communities and Businesses Prepare for and Prosper in a Changing Environment


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Department of Commerce Strategic Plan Graphic depicting the Environment Goal

Through its 12 bureaus, the Department of Commerce creates the conditions for economic growth and opportunity on both a domestic and global scale. As the voice of business in the President’s Cabinet, Secretary Pritzker has spearheaded the Department of Commerce’s “Open for Business Agenda” Strategic Plan and focused on five strategic goals: trade and investment, innovation, environment, data and operational excellence. Secretary Pritzker’s two-year anniversary is this Friday, June 26, and each day this week we are highlighting one of our strategic pillars by recognizing recent achievements.

The Environment pillar of the Strategic Plan calls for advancing the understanding and prediction of changes in the environment through world class science and observations; improving preparedness, response, and recovery from weather and water events by building a Weather-Ready Nation; strengthening the resiliency of communities and regions by delivering targeted services to build capacity; fostering healthy and sustainable marine resources, habitats, and ecosystems through improved management and partnerships; and enabling U.S. businesses to adapt and prosper by developing environmental and climate-informed solutions.

The Department of Commerce has implemented sustainable practices that reduce our carbon footprint, make us more resilient to change and improve our ability to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity. In the years to come, the Department plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy intensity across its facilities, while increasing the quantity of consumed electricity derived from renewable sources through the application of performance-based energy savings contracts.

Here are five important accomplishments within the Environment pillar since Secretary Pritzker joined the Commerce Department:

  1. The U.S. has become a global leader in sustainable seafood, largely ending domestic overfishing, rebuilding dozens of depleted fish stocks, and supporting near record highs in landings and revenue.   But globally not everyone is playing by the same rules, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing undercuts fair competition and threatens ocean health.  That’s why the Department of Commerce and the State Department co-led President Obama’s Task Force to help stop seafood fraud and confront IUU fishing.   Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews announced the Task Force’s final action plan on behalf of the Administration at Seafood Expo North America.  The Action Plan outlines a series of planned federal actions to strengthen enforcement of pirate fishing and stop this international problem that has harmed both U.S. consumers and fishermen alike. 
  2. The Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft, DSCOVR, was successfully launched to deliver valuable data for NOAA’s advanced warnings of solar weather events, and to monitor the Earth’s energy input and output.  NOAA’s forecasts support national security and our economic well-being.  Without the timely and accurate warnings that will be enabled by DSCOVR, space weather events like geomagnetic storms caused by changes in solar wind have the potential to disrupt nearly every major public infrastructure system, including power grids, telecommunications, aviation and GPS. The satellite reached its orbit position about one million miles from Earth earlier this month.   
  3. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall led twenty five top U.S. companies in a trade mission to China to showcase how American businesses have the technology and expertise to drive economic growth while reducing carbon emissions, a path critical to addressing global climate change.
  4. Commerce has championed efforts to evolve the National Weather Service to build a Weather Ready Nation, to build community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.  In the last few months, Secretary Pritzker delivered keynote address at the American Meteorological Society meeting, participated in ribbon cutting at the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, and visited NOAA's National Hurricane Center with President Obama to discuss preparedness in advance of the 2015 Hurricane Season.  Learn how you can become a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.
  5. Through NOAA, Commerce has worked to foster healthy and sustainable marine resources, habitats and ecosystems.   NOAA recently announced the expansion of National Marine Sanctuaries in California and Michigan, and with Interior Secretary Jewell, Secretary Pritzker recommended the protection and expansion of the largest marine-protected area in the world.

The progress that the U.S. Department of Commerce has made reflects both the dedication of Secretary Pritzker as well as the commitment of our 47,000 Commerce employees, to keeping America Open for Business.

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Last updated: 2015-06-26 15:32

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