Biden admin announces US$3b in climate resilience funding

A firefighting helicopter draws water from a river to fight a forest fire in California, on Aug 2, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Biden administration on Friday (Aug 12) announced it is putting more than US$3 billion (S$4.1 billion) into two federal programmes to help communities deal with floods, wildfires, extreme heat and other problems imposed by climate change.

Funding for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (Bric) programme, which funds projects that protect people and infrastructure from natural hazards and the effects of climate change, will more than double to nearly US$2.3 billion.

The Flood Mitigation Assistance programme, which funds projects to help mitigate flood risks for homes and communities, will see a five-fold increase in funding to US$800 million.

Some of the funding for the two Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programmes will come from last year's bipartisan infrastructure law, with US$700 million for the flood programme, and US$200 million for Bric. The rest will come from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund.

"Chronic lack of investment in climate resilience has only made matters worse for America's crumbling infrastructure," FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, these issues are magnified in historically underserved communities." Through the funding, "we seek to correct this injustice and ensure that every community is better able to prepare before disasters strike," Criswell said.

Last year, in just one example of the type of disaster that scientists say are made worse by climate change, Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, killing nearly 100 people and causing an estimated US$64 billion in damage.

The White House said in April that the upper range of climate change's hit to the US budget by the end of the century could total a 7.1 per cent annual revenue loss, equal to US$2 trillion a year in today's dollars.

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