With a footprint in nearly every country, the Department of State has seen firsthand the impacts of a changing climate on our operations. From drought to worsening air quality, the climate crisis has not only had implications for our personnel and their families, but also our host country partners around the world. The years ahead will be critical to slowing the pace of global temperature rise and preventing the worst impacts of climate change. The Department of State is mobilizing on all fronts to tackle the climate crisis, including changing the way we operate at home and abroad to curb emissions, improve sustainability, and adapt to climate hazards.
There has never been a more urgent moment. That is why I have designated Under Secretary for Management John R. Bass as the Department’s Chief Sustainability Officer. In this role, he will lead the Department’s efforts to advance the rigorous federal climate and sustainability ambitions and priorities set by the Administration under Executive Orders 14008 and 14057. Under Secretary Bass will set the vision for and oversee implementation of the Department’s sustainability, adaptation, and resilience goals.
He will be supported by the Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer who leads the Greening Diplomacy Initiative within the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions, as well as the Climate and Sustainability Working Group comprising multiple Department bureaus and offices.
The Department is building on more than a decade of climate actions that have curbed emissions, enhanced climate adaptation, and made our operations more sustainable. We are proud to be the premier federal agency in terms of harnessing renewable energy in our domestic operations and are working to electrify our fleet at home and abroad. Our embassies and consulates are built to be U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certified or better, so we can ensure our facilities are resilient and highlight innovative U.S. technologies. We are also advancing sustainability and resilience in our overseas operations through actions like installing rainwater harvesting systems in drought-stricken areas and installing on-site renewable energy.
There is a lot more to be done, however. I have full confidence that Under Secretary Bass will take our efforts to the next level and demonstrate the Department’s full commitment to leading by example in tackling the climate crisis.