President Joe Biden wasted no time in making the fight against so-called climate change a priority, including transmitter an executive order on January 27, 2020, tasking various federal agencies with developing plans to address the problem. And now those agencies have released a report citing the most urgent threats facing the United States.
The order read:
It is the policy of my administration that climate considerations be an essential element of the foreign policy and national security of the United States. The United States will work with other countries and partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to put the world on a sustainable climate path. The United States will also act swiftly to build resilience, both at home and abroad, to the impacts of climate change that are already manifest and will continue to intensify along current trajectories.
His order ordered the US Treasury, Defense, US Attorney General, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security and other agency staff to develop plans.
the New York Times praised development, criticizing President Donald Trump “whose disdain for climate science led most agencies to put aside their planning for climate change or stop talking about it.” The report continued:
Within weeks of taking office, President Biden ordered officials to quickly resume work. Emphasizing the urgency of the threat, the president gave agencies four months to come up with plans that list their top vulnerabilities to climate change and strategies to address them.
“Almost every service that the government provides will be affected by climate change sooner or later,” said Jesse Keenan, a professor at Tulane University who advises federal agencies on the Times report.
the Times supports Biden after four years of negatively reporting on Trump’s policies:
Plans released Thursday are brief, many of them under 30 pages. They include core themes: ensuring new facilities meet the strictest building standards, using less energy and water in existing buildings, better protecting workers from extreme heat, educating staff on climate science, and creating supply chains. that are less likely to be disrupted by storms or other collisions.
The papers also reflect Biden’s emphasis on racial equity, looking at the effects of climate change on low-income and minority communities and how agencies can address them. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services said it will focus research grants on the health effects of those communities.
But the most revealing information in the newly released plans might be their depiction, sometimes in frank terms, of the dangers posed by climate change.
The Department of Agriculture predicts food shortages: “changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, more pests and diseases, lower soil quality, fewer pollinating insects and more storms and wildfires will combine to reduce crops and livestock.”
The Department of Transportation:
… Notes that rising temperatures will make it more expensive to build and maintain roads and bridges ”and that“ severe weather events will ‘require flight cancellations, sometimes for extended periods of time’, and more heat will force airplanes to fly shorter distances and carry less weight.
“Even the quality of driving could deteriorate”, Times reported. “The plan warns of ‘decreased driver / operator performance and decision-making skills due to driver fatigue as a result of adverse weather.’
The Department of Homeland Security reported that climate change “means the risk of large numbers of climate refugees: people arriving at the US border, driven out of their countries by a combination of long-term challenges such as droughts or sudden shocks like a tsunami, “the Times reported, adding:
Climate change is likely to increase population movements in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, ”the department’s plan reads. The department is trying to develop “a responsive and coordinated operational plan for mass migration events.
The Defense Department said that climate change could lead to new conflicts and will also make it more difficult for the armed forces to operate:
Water shortages could even become a new source of tension between the US military abroad and the countries where the troops are based. But learning to operate during extreme weather conditions should also be seen as a new kind of weapon, the plan says, that can help the United States prevail over its enemies.
“This allows US forces to gain different advantages over potential adversaries,” the report says. “If our forces can operate in conditions where others must take refuge or go ashore.”
The Commerce Department said it expects “an increase in patent applications for ‘technologies related to adaptation to climate change,'” the Times reported.
The report said this “would affect the department’s ability to process such requests in a timely manner, having a direct impact on the competitiveness and economic growth of the United States.”
The report said the department would speed up patent applications related to climate change.
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