Obama boosts climate agenda

  • Article by: CORAL DAVENPORT , New York Times
  • Updated: July 16, 2014 - 9:00 PM

Proposals would address vulnerabilities in electrical grid and other infrastructure.

President Obama announced a series of climate change initiatives Wednesday aimed at guarding the electricity supply; improving local planning for flooding, coastal erosion and storm surges; and better predicting landslide risks as sea levels rise and storms and droughts intensify.

“Climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America,” Obama said.

The actions, involving a variety of federal agencies, were among the recommendations of the president’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness, a group of 26 officials who have worked since November to develop the plans.

One of the projects involves shoring up the power supply during climate catastrophes, and the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday awarded $236.3 million to improve electricity infrastructure in the rural areas of eight states.

A government study released in May concluded that climate change will strain utility companies’ ability to deliver power as extreme weather damages power lines and hotter weather drives surges in demand.

The Agriculture Department also announced new funds to help rural areas that are struggling with drought, although the White House has not said how much money would be allocated.

Tackling another of the recommendations, the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal agencies said it would spend $13.1 million to develop advanced 3-D mapping data that would allow localities to draft strategies in responding to weather-related disasters.

In addition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs unveiled a $10 million program to train tribes on climate change adaptations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guide titled “Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change” to help identify health hazards that might be caused by climate change.

The new initiatives are part of a broader White House push to build support for Obama’s climate agenda. In June, he detailed an Environmental Protection Agency plan directing states to submit proposals to curb carbon pollution from power plants. The plan takes direct aim at coal-fired plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution, and lawmakers from coal-dependent states have called it a “war on coal.” The plan is expected to curb demand for coal, shutter plants and reduce jobs.

Despite the pushback from coal country, Obama hopes to build political support for the plan by highlighting the local damage that climate change is expected to cause.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close