More than 20 U.S. agencies released plans detailing how they’ll make federal facilities and programs more resilient against the effects of climate change, including raising federal firefighter pay, flipping more vehicle fleets to electric, protecting nuclear waste sites from extreme weather and outfitting buildings to be greener. The reports, some more detailed than others, were issued Thursday and deliver on a day-one request from the Biden administration, which has said its hope for the nation to prepare for — yet still try to slow — climate change will be a “whole of government” endeavor.
While asking for more spending to fight climate change, including in bills currently making their way through Congress, Biden has said not responding to more frequent and extreme weather due to a warming planet will be more costly. Read: Solar power is cheaper than ever, and Biden wants to expand it — 3 questions homeowners should ask The U.N. has reported that an extreme weather event or climate-related disaster has occurred every day, on average, somewhere in the world over the last 50 years, each carrying an average economic loss of $383 million. Already the Biden administration urged Congress to appropriate more than $14 billion to aid with recovery and “unmet needs” from recent natural disasters, including wildfires and storms. It bumped up that ask by an additional $10 billion after the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida both in the Gulf states and after the storm walloped New York and other highly populated northeast cities. In its federal resiliency plan, the Department of Defense highlighted a recently released climate assessment tool meant to inform military planners which bases and installations are at higher risk from climate-change hazards, including storms and flooding. The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior will pay federal wildland firefighters $15 per hour, which was announced separately earlier this year. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has a tool that allows state and local public health officials to plan for and respond to extreme heat. That follows deadly temperature spikes in the historically temperate Pacific Northwest over the summer. Other themes within the reports included: ensuring that new facilities meet tougher construction standards, reducing energy and water use, better protecting workers against extreme heat, educating staff about climate science and creating supply chains that are less likely to be disrupted by storms. Opinion: Hotter and more frequent heat waves put the work and lives of countless essential workers at risk The White House said it plans to release a National Climate Strategy later this year.