US in $6 billion climate resilience investment pledge

The United States has announced a series of major investments in climate resilience as its President said the country had to repair years of inaction.

President Joe Biden made his comments as he announced the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment and a multi-billion series of investments to tackle the threat posed by climate change.

It was announced  the Department of Energy will invest $3.9 billion strengthen and modernise America’s electric grid in the face of more frequent and intense climate impacts.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to make $2 billion of funding available through its Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants program to support community-driven projects that deploy clean energy, strengthen climate resilience, and build community capacity to respond to environmental and climate justice challenges.

The threat of flood risks will see the  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide $300 million in a second round of funding to help communities that have been impacted by catastrophic flooding during the 2022-2023 flood season become more resilient to future flood events.

A further $100 million will be pledged for water infrastructure upgrades that advance drought resilience in the West. This includes $50 million in project awards to improve the reliability of water resources and support ecosystem health in Western states, along with an additional $50 million funding opportunity for water conservation projects and hydropower upgrades. The Department of the Interior has announced a $166 million investment in critical ecosystem resilience, restoration and environmental planning needs for the National Park Service over the next 9 years.

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) revealed greenhouse gas emissions from the United States continue to fall even as population and GDP have grown.  However, it added total global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities continue to increase, resulting in rapid warming and other impacts.

“People across the United States are experiencing warmer temperatures and longer heatwaves. Many other extremes, including heavy precipitation, droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes, are increasing in frequency and/or severity,” it added. “Extreme events cost the United States close to $150 billion each year—a conservative estimate that does not account for loss of life, health care-related costs, or damages to ecosystem services.

“This year set a record for the number of climate disasters that cost the United States over $1 billion. The United States now experiences a billion-dollar disaster approximately every three weeks on average, compared to once every four months during the 1980s. Every degree of global warming we avoid matters because each increment of warming is expected to lead to more damage and greater economic losses in the United States. Each climate action taken to reduce and avoid warming reduces those risks and harmful impacts.”

Biden said: “It’s the most comprehensive assessment on [the] state [of] climate change in the history of America.  And it matters.  This assessment shows us in clear scientific terms that climate change is impacting all regions, all sectors of the United States — not just some, all.
“It shows that communities across America are taking more action than ever to reduce climate risks and warns that more action is still badly needed.
“We can’t be complacent.  We have to keep going.”

He added: “Above all, it shows us that climate action offers an opportunity for the nation to come together and do some really big things.”
He continued: “Record temperatures in Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere are affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100 million Americans.  And this summer and this fall have been the Earth’s hottest since global records began to be kept in the 1800s.  Think about that: the hottest we’ve ever recorded in history.

“It’s an impact — an impact that decades are making because inaction — there was inaction for much too long.”
Biden added last year natural disasters in America caused $178 billion damages.  .
he said it will take time for the steps announced this week to fully materialise. “But we just have to keep at it.  We need to do more and move faster, and we have the tools to do it.”

“It’s the most comprehensive assessment on [the] state [of] climate change in the history of America.  And it matters.  This assessment shows us in clear scientific terms that climate change is impacting all regions, all sectors of the United States — not just some, all.’’

Joe Biden, US President

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