President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have made it clear that climate change is a crisis. That’s why the Biden-Harris administration is taking action to make communities across America more resilient to climate change, especially as millions of Americans live under heat advisories, wildfires threaten communities large and small, more than 100 million Americans are experiencing the plight and uncertainty associated with drought, and communities across the country face flooding from all-season rain that falls within hours .
We know the impacts of the climate crisis are here and we need to invest in building resilience to protect our communities, infrastructure and economy. This is why today Vice President Kamala Harris is in Miami, Florida, to announce more than $1 billion for 53 states, territories and DC to improve their infrastructure and make communities more resilient, with a focus on increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These awards, which will be distributed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program, are double the funding of last year’s historic $500 million. Next year, that funding will more than double to $2.3 billion, boosted by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s broad efforts to build our nation’s resilience and address the climate crisis. President Biden‘s National Climate Task Force has launched interagency efforts to build resilience to climate impacts, including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, floods, coastal threats, financial risks, and more. This builds on the historic investments President Biden and Vice President Harris secured in the bipartisan clean energy infrastructure act, wildfire mitigation, legacy pollution cleanup, restoration ecosystems and resilient infrastructure. These investments are creating jobs, building a clean, climate-resilient energy economy, and revitalizing our national manufacturing base.
The main actions of the president and vice president include:
- Providing historic investments for climate-resilient infrastructure projects: Through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, President Biden secured $50 billion in resilience investments, the largest in American history, to protect communities from extreme weather. For example, the Ministry of Transport recently announced A $7.3 billion funding formula through the PROTECT program, which will help states and communities make transportation infrastructure more resilient by focusing on resilience planning, improving the resilience of transport assets transport and evacuation routes and by tackling at-risk road infrastructures.
- Fighting the growing threats of wildfires: Agencies undertake various actions, such as joint planning and coordination of historical investments in conservation programs and natural resource infrastructure projects in the West, including the new Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. These investments improve wildfire response and reduce the overall loss of critical infrastructure and resources, while prioritizing assistance to underserved communities. This summer, in accordance with the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Forest Fire Mitigation and Management Commission was created, bringing together federal and nonfederal members to formulate and provide policy recommendations to Congress for the prevention, mitigation, suppression, and management of wildfires.
- Protect communities and workers from oppressive heat: The Biden-Harris administration is taking a wide range of actions to respond to intensifying heat waves and reduce associated health risks, especially for vulnerable groups and underserved communities. These efforts include the use of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to reduce cooling costs and provide electric air conditioners and heat pumps to homes, developing national standards and application programs for protect workers at work, launch Heat.gov as a one-stop hub for accessible information and response tools, and supporting mapping of urban heat islands, outreach and communication strategies, innovative cooling technologies, urban tree and greening projectsand more.
- Building resilience to drought: In June, Vice President Harris highlighted the first-year summary report of the Interagency Drought Resilience Task Force, which details completed and ongoing efforts to assist drought-affected communities and build their resilience. in the face of deteriorating conditions. A new Federal-State Working Group was launched in partnership with western governors to coordinate conservation programs. Many agencies — working with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as nongovernmental organizations — are using Bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding to support projects that improving our nation’s water infrastructure, rehabilitate watersheds, promote water reuseand improve soil and drought monitoring systems.
- Flood risk reduction for households and communities: President Biden has reinstated the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard that will reduce flood risk and protect infrastructure investments. The White House coordinates federal flood resilience efforts and ensures that federal investments include safety standards for floods and sea level rise. Agencies are already acting in implementation of guidelines to ensure communities are protected from flooding. Additionally, FEMA has launched an updated website for buyers to assess flood risk at the property level and published a report highlighting best practices for states requiring disclosure of flood risk in real estate transactions.
- Protect coastal communities from storms, sea level rise and other climate impacts: The Biden-Harris administration announced $3 billion in funding for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to build coastal resilience, improve climate data and services, etc. As outlined in President Biden’s Earth Day executive order, the administration is exploring greater deployment of nature-based solutions to address coastal and other climate impacts. Through the Coastal Resilience Interagency Working Groupagencies have developed a resource guide to help communities build climate resilience along coasts with nature-based solutions, streamlining access to more than 100 information resources and 48 federal programs.
- Support disadvantaged communities: Through the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), the White House has formed a new WHEJAC Task Force on Climate Resilience to advise on how to promote and execute equitable climate change resilience and disaster management. The White House continues to coordinate with agencies to implement the President’s Justice40 program, ensuring that 40% of the program’s benefits reach disadvantaged communities. This includes the benefits offered by the FEMA BRIC program.
- Prioritize assistance to tribal communities: Tribal communities and lands face particular risks from climate effects. The bipartisan infrastructure law invests $216 million in funding establish a new Tribal Transition and Resettlement Assistance Program under the DOI, which supports voluntary, community-led transition for tribal communities at severe risk from climate change and accelerating coastal hazards. The White House has launched a new Community Relocation Subcommittee, which will bring together agencies to explore key considerations, issues and strategies for working in partnership with communities to support voluntary movement away from high-risk regions.
- Addressing climate risks to the economy: The Biden-Harris administration has launched the first comprehensive government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage and mitigate the systemic risks that climate change poses to American families, businesses and the economy. Climate change has cost Americans an additional $600 billion in physical and economic damage in the past five years alone. In response, federal agencies are taking action to protect the hard-earned savings of workers and owners while protecting the broader financial system and the fiscal health of the federal government from climate-related financial risks.
- Lead by example across the federal government: The White House has worked with federal agencies to develop more than 20 climate change adaptation and resilience plans to improve climate change preparedness across their facilities and operations. This will reduce costs and damages from extreme weather, minimize disruptions to federal programs and services, and protect workers and communities. Last week the USDA announced a strategy to address a four million acre reforestation backlog on national forests and plant more than a billion trees over the next decade as part of its climate adaptation plan. Agencies are implementing the actions identified in their climate adaptation and resilience plans and will provide annual updates on progress.