A bold budget vision for the climate
The federal budget proposed by the Biden administration faces the challenge of climate change with a bold agenda to address it. It provides funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in infrastructure and climate resilience, expand climate research and policy development, and partner with the global community to address this common challenge. The budget turns climate goals into achievable actions.
It increases climate spending by $ 14 billion to a total of $ 36 billion across nearly every federal agency, investing in resilience and clean energy, improving America’s competitiveness, and working to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The budget also directs that 40 percent of the benefits of climate spending tackle the disproportionate pollution burdens faced by indigenous and low-income communities and communities of color across our country.
Biden’s budget calls for $ 4 billion for clean energy projects and climate resilience. This includes funding for energy efficient renovations to homes, schools and federal buildings; integrate climate impacts into disaster planning; and increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities to forest fires, floods and drought. These new expenditures include $ 450 million for mitigation, resilience, adaptation and environmental justice projects in the Indian country, which is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
An important part of the climate plan is devoted to innovation and science.
It is committing $ 4 billion to a broad portfolio of climate research across multiple agencies to improve understanding of climate change and how to adapt and become more resilient to it. Funding for clean energy and resilience in non-defense agencies would increase to over $ 10 billion, helping to transform our country’s electricity, transportation, buildings and industry sectors to achieve a net zero carbon economy by 2050. Finally, it provides $ 1 billion for new initiatives to seek high-risk, high-return solutions for adaptation, mitigation and resilience in the face of climate change. climate crisis and supports clean energy technologies.
A centerpiece is $ 1.5 billion in new funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to expand its climate observation and forecasting work and provide better data and information to decision makers; support coastal resilience programs to protect communities from the economic and environmental impacts of climate change; and investing in modern infrastructure to enable these essential efforts.
The federal budget also includes $ 300 million in new investments in next generation agriculture and conservation, and supports $ 6.5 billion in loans for additional clean energy, energy storage and transmission projects. in rural communities.
Finally, the budget supports international cooperation on the climate. It will accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement goals, with $ 1.2 billion for the first US contribution since 2017 to the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries reduce their emissions and improve themselves. adapt to climate change. It also provides an additional $ 1.1 billion for multilateral climate work and to help developing countries adapt to climate disruption, increase clean energy production and reduce landscape emissions.
The EPA plays an important role in this broad federal strategy, and its 2022 fiscal budget addresses climate change with the urgency demanded by science. The budget increases EPA funding by $ 2 billion, with 90% of the increase – $ 1.8 billion – going to climate crisis programs, which the EPA defines extensively. The EPA’s budget also directs resources to underprivileged communities and increases funding for its environmental justice program by $ 282 million.
The FY2022 budget also increases support for air pollution reduction, including $ 153 million for the EPA’s air and climate programs, and $ 100 million to improve air pollution monitoring. air quality and provide real-time data on air pollution to disadvantaged communities. Funding for science on air issues increases by $ 82 million, including $ 60 million for research on climate change and its impacts.
The budget also adds $ 100 million in grant funding to help states and tribes tackle greenhouse gas emissions, and it provides $ 59 million in targeted airshed grants to reduce pollution in the communities with the most polluted air in the country. It is also providing $ 150 million to reduce diesel emissions that can impose crippling pollution loads on disadvantaged communities near transportation corridors and facilities.
Another element of the EPA’s climate strategy is to improve America’s water infrastructure to ensure the safety, health and resilience of communities in the face of catastrophic events that accompany climate change. Extreme conditions such as flooding, storm damage and fires can overwhelm water systems and leave entire communities without safe drinking water.
The administration deals with water infrastructure with $ 101 billion as part of the US employment plan to remove lead from drinking water systems and to improve and modernize aging drinking water systems, water wastewater and stormwater.
And the EPA budget also provides significant support for water infrastructure, increasing revolving loan funds for the state’s sanitation and drinking water infrastructure by $ 460 million. It includes $ 100 million that can help small, disadvantaged communities fund water systems, tackle lead in drinking water, test for lead in school water, and manage water overflows. ‘sewers.
Harsh weather events can also disrupt and circulate dangerous pollution from around 800 Superfund toxic waste sites that are vulnerable to forest fires and flooding. The EPA’s budget addresses these risks with new $ 300 million in Superfund clean-up funding to start or speed up cleanings at 34 priority sites. Finally, it is adding $ 40 million to funding for brownfields to redevelop old hazardous waste sites.
The EPA budget, like the federal budget, defines the climate challenge broadly and takes bold steps to address it. Congress must support the EPA’s request for funding as well as other federal climate action.
David F. Coursen is a former EPA attorney and member of the Environmental Protection Network, a non-profit organization of EPA alumni that works to protect the agency’s progress toward protecting the air, water, land and climate.