Commentary | Aug. 12, 2021

The Coast Guard has established a working group to focus on climate change

By MyCG Staff

Capt. Steve Ramassini doesn’t see 15 acres of field along the northwest border of Training Center Petaluma – he sees an opportunity to enhance the resiliency of the base through renewable energies. 

“We’re increasing our renewable energy footprint and instituting energy storage in this field, which will not only enable off-grid operation, but will also allow us to sell energy back to the local service provider,” Ramassini said. “This initiative will achieve continuity of mission execution in a state that endures rolling blackouts.”  

For the Coast Guard, becoming more climate resilient will make sure our facilities and assets are built to withstand changing environmental conditions. To be operationally successful, our infrastructure must also be mission-ready. 

The Coast Guard recently established a Climate Community of Interest (CCOI). Championed by the Deputy Commandant for Operations, the CCOI is made up of experts in engineering, intel, mission support, planning, operations, logistics, energy management, infrastructure development, resiliency planning, strategy, and resourcing.   

“This community of interest is built on the Coast Guard’s operational strengths of mission support, prevention and response,” said Cmdr. Dave Vicks, the DCO-X strategic advisor who leads the CCOI team. The CCOI will help the service adapt to the operational realities of climate change. The CCOI will identify mission and operational risks and assess our climate resiliency gaps. 

For example, using a Shore Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment, the Coast Guard will identify shore units that are more vulnerable to climate-induced threats. 

The Coast Guard is also looking at ways to decrease our energy usage at shore facilities by awarding Energy Performance Contracts. 

In other words, the Coast Guard has multiple approaches to respond to the United States’ commitment to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 - and make sure we are ready for future missions.  

The CCOI will also make sure we’re synchronized with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.  

“The CCOI will drive climate change resilience,” Vicks said, “and will ensure that regardless of whether we’re talking about boats or buildings, air hangars, or human capital, we are aligning our purpose and training with our nation’s climate resiliency goals.”  

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