Obama’s Sideways Climate Plan

President Obama’s all-out push on climate change is involving federal agencies far beyond EPA.

A satellite image of Hurricane Isaac as of about 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
July 16, 2014, 5:51 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama’s big second-term push on cli­mate change is draw­ing in fed­er­al agen­cies that his­tor­ic­ally haven’t been front-and-cen­ter on glob­al-warm­ing policy.

That was clear­er than ever Wed­nes­day when the White House rolled out ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions to help states and com­munit­ies build their re­si­li­ence to more in­tense storms, high heat, sea-level rise, and oth­er ef­fects of cli­mate change.

Agen­cies in­volved in­clude the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, the Hous­ing and Urb­an De­vel­op­ment De­part­ment, and the Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment.

“It is fit­ting that these pro­grams span mul­tiple agen­cies be­cause many of them are the same ones that help com­munit­ies re­cov­er from de­struct­ive ex­treme weath­er events,” said Daniel J. Weiss, the seni­or vice pres­id­ent for cam­paigns at the League of Con­ser­va­tion Voters.

While EPA rules to cut car­bon emis­sions from power plants have been by far the highest pro­file piece of the White House cli­mate agenda, Wed­nes­day’s an­nounce­ments high­light what has been a less flashy ef­fort: Gird­ing com­munit­ies against ef­fects of cli­mate change that are already un­der­way or ex­pec­ted in the fu­ture.

Here’s how some of these agen­cies are deep­en­ing their in­volve­ment:

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol re­leased a new guide to help loc­al pub­lic health de­part­ments as­sess their area’s vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies to health haz­ards linked to cli­mate change.

The Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment is an­noun­cing the award of more than $236 mil­lion for eight states to help them im­prove their rur­al elec­tric in­fra­struc­ture at a time when ex­perts say that cli­mate change is pla­cing new strains on en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture.

The In­teri­or De­part­ment’s Bur­eau of In­di­an Af­fairs an­nounced a $10 mil­lion Fed­er­al-Tri­bal Cli­mate Re­si­li­ence Part­ner­ship and Tech­nic­al As­sist­ance Pro­gram to help tribes.

The In­teri­or De­part­ment’s U.S. Geo­lo­gic­al Sur­vey and oth­er agen­cies launched a $13 mil­lion pro­gram to cre­ate ad­vanced three-di­men­sion­al map­ping data that the ad­min­is­tra­tion said will be use­ful to plan­ners.

The data can be “used in the areas of flood-risk man­age­ment, wa­ter re­source plan­ning, mit­ig­a­tion of coastal erosion and storm surge im­pacts, and iden­ti­fic­a­tion of land­slide haz­ards as an es­sen­tial com­pon­ent of sup­port­ing ac­tion on cli­mate re­si­li­ence,” a White House sum­mary states.

HUD un­veiled de­tails about a pro­gram Obama an­nounced in June: a $1 bil­lion com­pet­it­ive grant pro­gram for risk as­sess­ment and plan­ning, and car­ry­ing out pro­grams to build re­si­li­ence (such as tough­er build­ing codes).

New ef­forts through the FEMA in­clude up­dated guidelines for de­vel­op­ment of state haz­ard mit­ig­a­tion plans that spur states to “con­sider cli­mate vari­ab­il­ity as part of their re­quire­ment to ad­dress the prob­ab­il­ity of fu­ture events in state plan­ning ef­forts,” ac­cord­ing to the White House.

The vari­ous ini­ti­at­ives stem from “early feed­back” from the State, Loc­al, and Tri­bal Lead­ers Task Force on Cli­mate Pre­pared­ness and Re­si­li­ence that Obama cre­ated through an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der late last year, the White House said. 

The pres­id­ent is slated to meet with the group Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, and it’s plan­ning to provide fi­nal re­com­mend­a­tions this fall.

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fo­cus on com­munity re­si­li­ence will save lives and fed­er­al funds. In the past three years, the 34 most de­struct­ive cli­mate-re­lated ex­treme weath­er events took 1,221 lives and caused $208 bil­lion in dam­ages. Every $1 in­vest­ment to help com­munit­ies pre­pare for fu­ture ex­treme weath­er re­duces dis­aster re­lief by $4,” Weiss said.

What We're Following See More »
MCCONNELL’S BACK AGAINST THE WALL
Heller, Paul Won’t Vote on Motion to Proceed
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
LESS THAN HOUSE BILL
CBO Says 22 Million More Would Be UNinsured
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Senate bill "would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026, a figure that is only slightly lower than the 23 million more uninsured that the House version would create. Next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law...The legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade."

Source:
ARKANSAS BIRTH CERTIFICATE LAW OVERTURNED
SCOTUS Delivers a Victory for Gay Couples
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of same-sex couples who complained that an Arkansas birth certificate law discriminated against them, reversing a state court’s ruling that married lesbian couples must get a court order to have both spouses listed on their children’s birth certificates."

Source:
63-DAY TRIGGER
Revised Senate Bill Would Add Penalty for Going Uninsured
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
SENT LETTER TODAY
58 House Republicans Ask Ginsburg to Recuse on Travel Ban
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The letter reads in part, "There is no doubt that your impartiality can be reasonably questioned; indeed, it would be unreasonable not to question your impartiality. Failure to recuse yourself from any such case would violate the law and undermine the credibility of the Supreme Court of the United States.” Ginsburg said last year, "He is a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login