The White House outlined plans for the $575 million Climate Resilience Regional Challenge, which will help coastal and Great Lakes communities in the United States become more resilient to extreme weather and climate catastrophes including through energy, building, and infrastructure improvements.
The Challenge, part of the $2.6 billion of resilience funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act, includes plans for addressing wildfires, extreme heat, drought, and flooding. Further, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing $2.3 billion in bolstering grid resilience across the country. As part of the plan, President Biden said California, which has faced grid and energy resilience impacts from heat and wildfires over the past several years, will receive $64.7 million to modernize its electric system.
Beyond directly addressing natural impacts, the plan also includes building climate-smart infrastructure. The administration is making billions of dollars available for building climate-smart buildings and green infrastructure across the country. Nature-based solutions are also being prioritized. Conserving wetlands, forests, and grasslands helps in storing carbon and restoring biodiversity, both crucial to slowing the effects of climate change.
A White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities will be held later this year in order to achieve an alignment between the U.S. government and non-federal efforts toward mitigating natural impacts.
Resiliency Funding, Direct Community Support
Investment in climate resilience and adaptation namely includes upgrading aging infrastructure, providing tax credits towards more energy-efficient homes, restoring critical natural resources, supporting climate-smart agriculture, modernizing the electric grid, and funding research toward new energy-storage technologies.
For the first time in history, climate risk is a consideration in the Presidential budget in order to manage and protect Federal funding for taxpayers. Tools have also been created for communities to calculate climate risk, including the Department of Agriculture’s climate hubs and the Sea Level Rise Viewer.
The plan aims to better protect communities that have been disproportionately affected by climate change. This falls in line with Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets a goal for 40% of benefits from certain federal investments to go to such disadvantaged communities which are overburdened by pollution. Tribal-specific funding has also been allocated for voluntary, community-led transition and relocation from high-risk areas.
Direct aid for communities will also be provided by way of the federal National Flood Insurance Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Community Wildfire Defense Grant, among others.
The Climate Resilience Regional Challenge should help toward reducing the negative impacts of climate impacts by directing funding toward high-risk regions, reshaping infrastructure, conserving natural resources, and incentivizing protection against extreme weather events.
Editor’s note: Don’t miss the virtual Environment+Energy Leader Solutions Summit ’23 on July 18-19. Learn tangible, innovative solutions to help with sustainable transitions across industries. Speakers from companies and organizations including Schneider Electric, Cority, Jump Associates, Mycocycle, Plainsight, LRQA, the Alliance to Save Energy, and many more will share tactics and lessons that can help you solve your energy management, sustainability, and ESG challenges. Learn more about the #EESummit23, and then register today!