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New Obama Climate Change Order Aims to Prepare Communities for Severe Weather

Green Lifestyle  (tags: americans, beaches, climate change, CO2emissions, environment, protection, Sustainabililty )

- 1663 days ago -
In another move to address the impact of climate change, President Barack Obama ordered a bipartisan task force on Friday to help U.S.

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Kit B (276)
Monday November 4, 2013, 8:09 am
Photo Credit: New Jersey shore line after Hurricane Sandy.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In another move to address the impact of climate change, President Barack Obama ordered a bipartisan task force on Friday to help U.S. communities brace for longer heat waves, heavier downpours, more severe wildfires and worse droughts.

Friday's executive order set up a panel of governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders to advise the White House on how the federal government can respond to communities hit by the effects of a changing climate.

Federal agencies were also directed to modernize their programs in ways that will support investments that will help cities and towns gird against extreme weather. More than two dozen agencies will form a council on climate preparedness.

Because no federal legislation to curb climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions is likely to get through Congress due to widespread Republican opposition, the president has been using his executive authority as an alternative to new laws.

Friday's White House order builds on a Climate Action Plan unveiled in June, the centerpiece of which was new regulations to be applied to power plants, and comes three days after the anniversary of the landfall of Superstorm Sandy, which caused more than $60 billion in damage along the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Friday cited the damage caused by Sandy as a "stark reminder of how disruptions to our nation's critical infrastructure have far-reaching economic, health, safety and security impacts."

The task force is to report to the White House within a year on how the government can best "remove barriers, create incentives and otherwise modernize federal programs to encourage investments, practices and partnerships that facilitate increased resilience to climate impacts, including those associated with extreme weather."

No new federal funds were offered to support the task force.

Eight Democratic but no Republican governors are on the bipartisan panel, even though some of the states hardest hit by extreme weather conditions, including New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, are governed by Republicans.

States like Florida and Texas face acute financial exposure from extreme weather and climate-related events, according to a report this week by Ceres, a coalition of investors, companies and public interest groups that advocates for sustainable business practices.

Extreme weather events in 2012 cost U.S. taxpayers more than $300 apiece, or $100 billion in total, most of it to pay for federal crop, flood, wildfire and disaster relief, Ceres President Mindy Lubber said in a statement.

Daniel Weiss, a climate strategy expert at the Center for American Progress, said the task force should assess future costs to make communities better prepared and less vulnerable to extreme weather.

"This bipartisan group of state and local officials could be persuasive advocates to an otherwise recalcitrant Congress that federal investments in community resilience will reduce spending on disaster recovery," Weiss told Reuters.

The progressive think tank estimates that in fiscal 2011-2013, the U.S. government spent $6 on disaster recovery for every dollar on community preparedness.

A fact sheet on the new task force is available at

Separately on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency released its draft climate change adaptation plan and called for public review and comment.

"EPA must help communities adapt to a changing climate," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "These implementation plans offer a roadmap."

By: Environment Correspondent Deborah Zabarenko | Reuters and Scientific American|

(Editing by Ros Krasny and Philip Barbara)

Arielle S (313)
Monday November 4, 2013, 10:25 am
Nice to see someone not only acknowledging the issues but trying to do something about them. Thanks, Kit.

Joanna W (71)
Monday November 4, 2013, 11:59 am
hahh hope it works out!!

Mari 's (1356)
Monday November 4, 2013, 12:19 pm
Hope we can deal with this and the future!! ty Kit tried to send you a star but something's not working right.

Past Member (0)
Monday November 4, 2013, 12:35 pm
The Prez overriding the climate deniers and their supporters ~ KUDOS!!!

Kathy B (106)
Monday November 4, 2013, 12:48 pm
It's unfortunate that Obama has to resort to executive orders to get anything done that remotely resembles action on climate change. And this isn't actually worded to be about climate change, but more about preparing for the damages.

Birgit W (160)
Monday November 4, 2013, 12:58 pm

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday November 4, 2013, 1:55 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. Sounds good, let's see what happens when these state governors have to comment on the pollution from dirty energy in their states---how it contributes to climate change and all the costs from it.

Past Member (0)
Monday November 4, 2013, 2:18 pm
Before we lay praise, we should research. CAP May turn out to be not what it appears to be;
I'm not saying CAP is a front group, but they should be less secretive about their big donors, especially if they claim to be working for progress for the American people.

David C (131)
Monday November 4, 2013, 2:30 pm
sadly....if its bipartisan I am afraid that they may spend all the time debating (arguing) whether climate change exists and is man-made or not

marie C (163)
Monday November 4, 2013, 3:44 pm
Thanks Kit

JL A (281)
Monday November 4, 2013, 8:34 pm
Kudos to POTUS for doing what he can given the nonfunctioning Congress to move the country forward so fewer lives and less property may be lost than would be the case waiting for Congress to do their job on this.

Laurie H (817)
Monday November 4, 2013, 9:13 pm
Thank you Kit for this enlightening share!!! This is a great step forward. Let's now see where it leads.~~

Dogan Ozkan (5)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 1:08 am
noted, thanks for sharing

Vallee R (280)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 9:56 am
Thanks Kit - just know I am COLD today - another and take out the do - agree with some - they may end up talking more than anything else.

Anne F (17)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 10:55 am
Needed to happen - we can take steps now (so that next time there's flood the buses aren't all parked on the shore (that happened in a city with Sandy)

Barbara K (60)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 11:47 am
I'm so glad to see that the President is taking steps to adjust for the climate change we are entering. The Rs won't do anything but sit on their hands, so it is up to the President and the Dems to get something done again. Thank you, Mr. President for doing this for us. We really do need plans set up and to see what is going to be needed and where. The states that use the most disaster relief are Republican run and we are the ones who pay for their disasters. You'd think they would step up and do something to alleviate their damage, but, of course, they'd rather have the rest of us do it all, and then they complain.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 12:49 pm
Thank you for the good news! I'm glad to know the President is taking action; however, the effort desperately needs funding and backing from Congress in order to establish more effective support and aid for states and regions that are most susceptible to severe weather.

Mitchell D (87)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 1:23 pm
As I've said previously, the first comment I heard on global warming, from a BONA FIDE scientist in the PROPER FIELD, was that "The extremes are going to get extremer!"

Daniel Partlow (179)
Thursday November 7, 2013, 5:46 am
Way past time to address this!
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