White House sends states $575 million to protect Americans against climate change effects
The funds, authorized in the Inflation Reduction Act, will go toward projects that will prepare communities for stronger storms, rising sea levels, and other results of a warming planet.
The Biden administration announced on Monday the creation of a $575 million fund to help communities along the coastal United States and in the Great Lakes region in dealing with the effects of climate change, particularly extreme weather.
The Climate Resilience Regional Challenge, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, will be administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It will fund projects and planning for projects related to preparing communities for rising sea levels, flooding and storm surges from hurricanes, and other weather. According to NOAA, projects can involve purchasing vulnerable land, building with green materials, and building natural infrastructure. The fund will also be used to help communities relocate and to protect public access to natural resources.
“I’ve toured many sites across the country that clearly show climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” President Joe Biden said in a speech in Palo Alto, California, announcing the funding.
The administration also announced plans to hold a White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities later this year, at which state, local and tribal leaders will meet to discuss their plans to address the impact of climate change. The administration said it will release a National Climate Resilience Framework to lay out how the federal government can work with private businesses on similar climate-related projects.
The announcement follows a June 14 report from NOAA showing that North and South America had experienced the warmest May on record in 2023. The report also revealed that global temperatures in May were the third-highest ever recorded and that ocean surface temperatures had broken a record for highest recorded temperatures.
According to the agency, studies have shown that warmer oceans contribute to increased storm intensity, including storms that develop into hurricanes.
NOAA estimated in a report released in January that in 2022, climate and weather disasters cost the U.S. $165 billion, making that year the third-highest in total costs for disasters in U.S. history. Among the disasters that contributed to the costs were winter storms, wildfires, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes. At least 474 direct or indirect fatalities were related to these weather events in 2022, the eighth-highest level measured since 1980.
The Republican majority in the House voted in April to pass the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would have repealed tax credits for green energy-related initiatives, even though many of the related projects are in Republican-led states. The Democratic-led Senate will not consider the legislation.
Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, frequently opposed efforts to combat climate change. Trump initiated a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord in 2019 — Biden has since reversed that decision — and scrapped the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would have regulated emissions from coal power plants.
Trump is currently the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
A coalition of environmental groups has endorsed Biden’s reelection campaign. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, NextGen PAC, the NRDC Action Fund and the Sierra Club announced their support for Biden in a joint statement released on June 14.
“The Biden-Harris administration has done far more to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice than any administration in our nation’s history,” the groups said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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