The next 100 days will be crucial to ensure climate resilience

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This second article on climate resilience policies within the Biden administration was written with Laurie Schoeman.

Last week we discussed how President Biden’s first 100 days in power helped us reset the country and make the 2020s known as the decade of resilience. So far, the very first scorecard on climate change risk disclosure and financial markets has been given a favorable rating. But the next 100 days will be crucial as we anticipate what the Biden White House can achieve to build climate resilience in the United States.

The Biden Administration’s US Jobs Plan Proposes To Boost The US Economy By Creating Jobs; capitalization of infrastructure, housing and services; and invest in the education and training of millions of Americans in dozens of industries.

It’s an ambitious range of policies: $ 213 billion for housing; $ 621 billion in transport infrastructure; $ 50 billion to improve infrastructure resilience through additions to FEMA’s Building Infrastructure and Resilient Communities (BRIC) program and the US Department of Housing’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and urban development; 111 billion dollars for the improvement of hydraulic infrastructures; and $ 100 billion to improve the country’s electricity grid and invest in clean energy.

Linking equity and climate resilience

A slate of executive orders of President Biden signal a vision and a desire to strengthen social equity. The decree focused on tackling the climate crisis creates an environmental justice council and sets the goal of delivering 40% of the benefits of climate investment to underprivileged communities, called Justice40.

Another executive order on promoting racial equity and supporting underserved communities is a priority a “comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have historically been underserved, marginalized and negatively affected by poverty and persistent inequalities” in federal government programming. These decrees will have to be transformed into active programs so that they have permanence and longevity in the future.

Administrationof removal of “onerous restrictions” that prevented the full deployment of more than $ 8 billion in Congress-approved Hurricane Maria relief funding to Puerto Rico is releasing dedicated funding nearly four years ago to help Puerto Rico recover and recover protect against future storms.

President American climate objective “30 x 30” consider teaming up with various agricultural and forest land owners from state, local, tribal and territorial governments; the fishing industry; and other key stakeholders ”to protect 30 percent of the land and ocean territories of the United States by 2030.

Focusing on environmental justice is a must

The American Rescue Plan bill includes $ 100 million for environmental justice grants – a step in the right direction to address disproportionate climate risks to vulnerable populations and, hopefully, not too little, too late. The bill recognizes that the nation’s strength depends on the access of U.S. households to basic services and of states and cities with funds to support essential functions and maintain a vibrant public transportation system.

The Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program illustrates a first impact of these decrees. For the first time, it will support projects aimed specifically at tackling the effects of climate change and environmental racism in order to ensure equity in investments in infrastructure and clean energy. In addition, the department has renamed TIGER and BUILD as Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE).

For American communities, look for leading initiatives such as Resilience 21 (R21), a coalition of 50 leading American practitioners, of which we are a part, working with cities and communities of all sizes and types to build resilience to current and future shocks and stresses, with a focus on disproportionate risks facing marginalized communities. One of the main recommendations of R21 includes the development of a “Future Vision” working group to address communities threatened by climate and human-caused displacement, including sea level rise, fires in forest, flooding, environmental degradation and pollution and civil unrest. This working group should support the free will and mobility of communities to determine their own future and address funding for proactive action.

Samantha Medlock, senior counsel for the House Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, told Resilience 21, “Great effectiveness will come from implementation. We must take into account the needs of American communities. She suggested setting a goal post that integrates resilience into infrastructure, housing, and disaster response and recovery projects.

What does the next 100 days and beyond hold?

Hard work must continue, with as much urgency as the first 100 days, to make up for the lack of climate resilience effort over the past decade and to rebuild the country’s economy and spirit. The new administration will need to build and train teams to implement the policy and vision and ensure that staff have subject matter expertise and a proven track record in climate change resilience, adaptation and equity. . Policies and programs created, designed and deployed must be informed by practitioners to produce permanent structural changes that can resolve the deep systemic challenges impacting many low and middle income communities and communities of color that are now on. the direct path of natural hazards. and the risks.

Look for a draft decree, focusing on disclosure of climate-related financial risks, this integrate climate risk into the decision-making process of the financial sector. Major industries such as housing, agriculture, lending and insurance will be called upon to assess and disclose climate risks, identify solutions to manage these risks and, where appropriate, finance the implementation of these risks. strategies.

Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, recently told world leaders that climate change is a matter of national security at the virtual climate summit in late April. “It needs to be fully integrated into all aspects of our analysis in order to enable us not only to monitor the threat, but also, critically, to ensure that decision-makers understand the importance of climate change over seemingly independent policies,” she declared.

It’s an admirable start to what promises to be an exciting and uncertain adventure in this decade of resilience. We must continue to push for decisions at all levels of government that strengthen our path for all and help us recognize past and historical inequalities, plan for current and future risks, invest in affordable housing, transportation , water and other infrastructure and to build capacity to create justice for all.

Co-author Laurie Schoeman is the co-founder of Resilience 21 and meeads Enterprise Community Partners efforts to preserve and protect affordable housing across the country from the risks and impacts of natural hazards and climate change.

Image Credit: Nikola Majksner / Unsplash



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