Over 20 federal agencies came forward on Thursday with new plans to adapt their operations to the scale of climate change.
The plans were published by multiple agencies, including the departments of Defense, Agriculture, Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation. The published plans are arriving several months after President Joe Biden announced that the entire US government would reassess itself in order to better fight climate change.
Mere weeks after his inauguration, Biden gave the agencies four months to make detailed plans describing the threat climate change poses to their unique agency and how they plan on managing it.
“Agencies face a multitude of risks caused by climate change, including rising costs to maintain and repair damaged infrastructure from more frequent and extreme weather events, challenges to program effectiveness and readiness, and health and safety risks to federal employees who work outside,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
“By taking action now to better manage and mitigate climate risks, we will minimize disruptions to federal operations, assets and programs while creating safer working conditions for employees,” the sheet continued.
The primary objectives across agencies include:
- Protecting workers from extreme weather events
- Strengthening supply chains so that they withstand weather disasters
- Analyzing the effect of poor air quality and heat in low-income, minority areas
- Making government buildings more equipped for changing climates
Federal agencies announce climate adaptation plans as Biden strengthens his approach to global warming
The plan comes after Biden has used multiple high-profile appearances to express his sincere engagement with the looming and already present disasters of climate change.
He addressed the issued late last month at the UN General Assembly, agreeing with the UN Secretary General that the climate crisis was a “Code Red for humanity”:
“This year has also brought widespread death and devastation from the borderless climate crisis,” Biden said. “Extreme weather events that we’ve seen in every part of the world — and you all know it and feel it — represent what the secretary general has rightly called Code Red for humanity.”
Biden’s statements on climate change at the assembly appear to echo the remarks he gave in response to Hurricane Ida, a storm that ravaged much of the east coast and caused major flooding in New York City in early September.
“The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms in the climate crisis are here,” Biden said in a speech he gave from the White House. “We need to be much better prepared.”
Rainfall flooded New York and New Jersey for a period of over six hours throughout the night, leaving neighborhoods, restaurants, apartments, and subway stations flooded in several feet of water. Biden pointed to these scenes as dramatic signs that America’s infrastructure – especially that in its major cities – were in need of major improvements in order to withstand the new challenges posed by climate change:
“When Congress returns this month, I’m going to press further action on my Build Back Better plan that’s going to make historic investments in electrical infrastructure, modernizing our roads, bridges, our water systems, sewer and drainage systems, electric grids and transmission lines, and make them more resilient to these superstorms, wildfires and floods that are going to happen with increasing frequency and ferocity,” the President said.