President Joe Biden Doubles US Emergency Spending to Help Communities Prepare for Hurricanes and Other Extreme Weather Events, While Launching New Effort at NASA to Better Understand and Track Climate Change Impacts
The $ 1 billion spending announced on Monday is only a small fraction of what the United States spends on weather disasters. Last year alone, the country suffered 22 separate weather and climate disasters, with losses exceeding $ 1 billion each. Disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes and snowstorms, have cost nearly $ 100 billion.
2021 has already seen significant winter storms that have caused a deadly blackout in Texas and other states and underline the damage caused by climate change.
Forecasters predict the Atlantic hurricane season will be busier than normal, but it is unlikely to be as severe as the record year of 2020.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last week that the hurricane season, which runs from June to November, will likely see 13 to 20 named storms, including at least six that will become hurricanes and three to five that will be classified as hurricanes. major with winds over 110 mph (177 km / h).
Biden will make the funding announcement during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters Monday afternoon, where he will receive a briefing on this year’s outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season.
As climate change threatens to lead to more extreme events such as increased flooding, rising sea levels and intensifying droughts and wildfires, the White House has said it was the government’s responsibility to better prepare and support communities before disasters, rather than simply reacting afterwards.
As part of Biden’s announcement, FEMA will provide $ 1 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which helps states, local communities, tribes and territories develop projects to prepare for and reduce risks of disasters and natural disasters.
Officials pledged to increase investment in climate research to improve understanding of extreme weather events and refine decision making on climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation. The new funding should help ensure communities have the resources they need to build resilience before these crises, the White House said.
The measures announced on Monday are part of Biden’s pledge to make climate change a top priority. Biden has set a goal of reducing US greenhouse gas emissions to 52% from 2005 levels by 2030. He also said he plans to adopt a standard of clean energy that would make electricity carbon-free by 2035, as well as the broader goal of net zero carbon emissions across the economy by 2050.
Last week, Biden called on federal agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to identify and manage financial risks to government and the private sector posed by climate change. A decree he released on Thursday calls for concrete measures to mitigate climate risks and could lead to new regulations in banking, housing and agriculture, among others.
“Extreme weather conditions linked to climate change can disrupt entire supply chains and deprive communities of food, water or emergency supplies,” the White House said. Snowstorms can take power grids offline, while flooding made worse by rising sea levels can destroy homes and businesses.
The executive order directs White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy and economic adviser Brian Deese to develop a government-wide strategy within four months to identify and disclose climate-related financial risks.