How it tackles climate change

US President Joe Biden’s response to the B3W Meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 World Leaders Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Monday signed a $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes historic funding to protect the country from the harmful effects of man-made climate change.

The infrastructure bill sets aside $ 50 billion to build climate and weather resilience as the country is ravaged by more frequent and severe droughts, heat waves, floods and wildfires. For example, it provides financial resources for communities recovering from or vulnerable to natural disasters, and increases funding for FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers programs that help reduce flood risk and damage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will also receive additional funding for forest fire modeling and forecasting.

A record number of natural disasters were recorded last year. $ 95 billion in damage, according to NOAA, and this record is predicted to be broken in 2021.

Other environmental and climate-related investments in legislation include:

  • $ 65 billion in clean energy and grid investment
  • $ 7.5 billion for the construction of a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles
  • $ 55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water
  • $ 21 billion to clean up the Superfund and abandoned fields and close abandoned oil and gas wells.

Biden’s infrastructure funding signals how the federal government recognizes and addresses climate change as a current systemic threat to the entire economy. Last month, more than 20 federal agencies released climate change adaptation plans that reveal the biggest threats climate change poses to their operations and facilities and how they plan to tackle them.

However, the infrastructure bill does little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. This also does not match investment level scientists say there is a need to adequately prepare for the worst impacts of climate change. Research Shows Climate Change Adaptation Could Cost US tens or hundreds of billions of dollars every year by the middle of the century.

Nonetheless, it paves the way for Congress to advance the core of Biden’s climate agenda – Restore the best actionthat is committing $ 555 billion to aggressively fight climate change and cut emissions in half over the next decade. The House of Representatives is set to pass its own version of the bill this week.

“This is the first scene from a two-act performance,” said Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“This will pave the way for Congress to pass the Building Efficiency Act,” Bapna said. “This is central to President Biden’s strategy to ensure a just recovery through action to tackle climate change at a time when the country urgently needs both.”

The last time the US passed a climate law was in 2009, when Democrats in Congress disapproved of the carbon pricing system under former President Barack Obama. Former President Donald Trump has effectively halted progress in the fight against climate change by lifting more than 100 environmental regulations and pulling the country out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Long negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Washington led to a simplified version of the Biden plan. The president scrapped more than half of his original proposal to spend $ 2.3 trillion on infrastructure repairs and climate change mitigation.

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