Obama’s 2015 Budget Will Include $1 Billion for Climate Change Prep

According to Reuters, President Barack Obama will include a $1 billion fund in his 2015 budget for helping communities throughout the nation prepare for climate change-related weather events.

Obama announced the fund in Fresno, California on Feb. 14 as part of his pledge to bring faster federal aid to the state as it deals with its worst drought ever.

The $1 billion fund is part of Obama’s Climate Action Plan, outlined in June 2013. It will be formally proposed in March, when Obama reveals his fiscal 2015 budget.

The fund requires approval by Congress and some are not sure if it will get it.

“Given the saliency of the issues in communities across the political spectrum, it seems likely to create some momentum for action in Congress, although obviously that is very hard to say in the current environment,” Billy Pizer, associate professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, told Reuters.

According to the article, in the past, Republicans and some Democrats in coal-reliant states have “bitterly opposed” attempts at passing similar legislation that would enforce a limit on carbon emissions. Some have tried to pass their own legislation to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from being allowed to regulate carbon emissions at all.

The fund’s concept was based on a December 2012 recommendation by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

According to the article, the White House says the goal is to use the fund to help communities cope with extreme weather, including droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires. The fund would also be used for researching how to better prepare for the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme temperatures.

The director of the White House’s Council for Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, also spoke last Friday. According to Reuters, she said Obama will emphasize the importance of climate resilience by using the current California drought as a prime example.

“This continues to demonstrate the continuing need to focus on resiliency, on reducing risks and vulnerabilities in light of the changing climate,” said Sutley, whose home state is California.

Reuters also quoted Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at CAP, who spoke last Friday.

“Every dollar spent on resilience will save federal taxpayers $4 in lower disaster recovery costs,” said Weiss.

“Now it's up to Congress to make this essential preparedness fund into a reality.”

 

For more information, see the original Reuters article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/15/us-usa-climate-fund-idUSBREA1E03D20140215