Report Summary

Title: Review of VA's Programs for Addressing Climate Change
Report Number: 13-01846-235
Issue Date: 6/28/2013
VA Office: Office of Management
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audits, Reviews & Evaluations
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: In response to a February 25, 2013 request from the Congressional Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, we assessed whether VA is doing all that it can to address this growing threat. We found VA partially complied with several key requirements and can do more to address climate change. VA has done considerable planning and met selected targets in the areas of energy management, water management, and green buildings sustainability. However, VA did not meet selected targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fleet petroleum consumption. This was due to factors such as significant growth in VA programs, competing operational standards, and regulatory requirements. Since 2008, VA has increased staffing by 21 percent and expanded its fleet by 39 percent to better serve veteran needs, but this has posed a challenge to meeting certain targets. Generally, VA had the authority needed to reduce heat trapping pollution emissions and strengthen its resiliency to climate change effects.
We recommended the Executive in Charge for the Office of Management and Chief Financial Officer coordinate with the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Human Resources and Administration to implement existing telework expansion plans and encourage VA employees to use alternative forms of commuting for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Executive in Charge should also identify additional strategies for meeting requirements to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and fleet petroleum consumption. The Executive in Charge concurred with our findings and recommendations and provided technical revisions that we incorporated in our report as appropriate. The Office of Human Resources and Administration planned to work with the Office of Management to address the report findings and recommendations.