Other Climate Actions
Some of the actions that the Obama Administration has taken to address climate change since announcing the Climate Action Plan in June 2013 do not line up with specific goals of the Climate Action Plan but nevertheless advance the same overall policy objectives. This page briefly describes some of the more significant of these actions:
March 4, 2014: President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, which includes a request for $1 billion for a new Climate Resilience Fund, part of a $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative. (See Michael Boots et al., Preparing Now for Our Climate Future, Council on Environmental Quality (Mar. 4, 2014, 11:39 AM).) The Budget would also provide billions of dollars for other climate-related policies, some clearly within the ambit of the Climate Action Plan, many not. A 7-page fact sheet available from the White House provides an overview and summary of these proposed expenditures. (See Opportunity for All: Building a Clean Energy Economy, Improving Energy Security, and Taking Action on Climate Change.)
The proposed Climate Resilience Fund would support efforts by states, tribes, and localities to prepare for events such as powerful storms, flooding, wildfires, and other emergencies that will be more common and more destructive because of climate change. For example:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would receive $400 million for hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness.
- The Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would provide grants to support coastal preparedness for severe storms and changing ocean conditions.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would support states with grants to maintain or improve water quality through coastal and wetlands protection and to reduce or absorb stormwater flow.
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) would support state and community efforts to update building codes to address the increasing risk of wildfires.
- Funding for expanded research and data analysis would strengthen efforts to prepare the transportation, public-health, and other sectors to weather the impacts of climate change.
- Funding for research and development of “breakthrough technologies” and resilient infrastructure such as distributed renewable generation and microgrids, building on recovery efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
- Funding for “challenges” to the private sector to devise innovations to make infrastructure more resilient as climate change continues. One such challenge is the Bureau of Reclamation’s new Water Challenge Solutions program, which is designed to reward innovations in water-treatment technologies.
- Funding for updating building codes to improve resilience and energy efficiency.
- Support for some 6,000 urban communities to reduce the “heat island” effect by growing and maintaining urban forests and tree canopies.
(See Michael Boots et al., Preparing Now for Our Climate Future, Council on Environmental Quality (Mar. 4, 2014, 11:39 AM).)
In testimony before the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on March 27, 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated that $199.5 million of the agency’s $7.890 billion request for FY 2015 is designated specifically for climate-change work. This figure includes $2 million in technical assistance to help water utilities in adaptation planning for surviving storm surges. The agency will focus its research and development efforts on helping at-risk communities and tribes prepare for the impacts of climate change and will implement a variety of efforts to increase efficiency in homes, businesses, and factories. McCarthy said that the Budget includes funding to support states in meeting new emissions standards under section 111 of the Clean Air Act, support for the President’s interagency methane strategy, and money for developing fuel efficiency and emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles. Under the umbrella of the Climate Resilience Fund, the EPA budget includes $10 million for protecting and enhancing coastal wetlands and $5 million for urban forestry. (See News Release, EPA, Testimony of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Before House Appropriations Committee on Proposed FY 2015 Budget (Mar. 27, 2014).)
April 16, 2014: DOE issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions. The final solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that might otherwise be unable to obtain full commercial financing. (See Press Release, DOE, Department of Energy Issues Draft Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation to Foster Clean Energy Innovation (Apr. 16, 2014).) A fact sheet, FAQ, and other documents are available on the Draft Renewable Energy & Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation page of DOE’s Loan Programs Office.
April 30, 2014: EPA announced that it would provide $860,000 to 14 communities to expand their use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. (See News Release, EPA, EPA Awards $860,000 to Communities to Reduce Water Pollution, Build Resilience to Climate Change (Apr. 30, 2014).) More information on EPA’s support for green infrastructure is available on EPA’s Water site.
May 7, 2014: DOE selected three offshore wind demonstration projects to receive up to $47 million each to deploy innovative, grid-connected wind power projects in federal and state waters over the next four years. The projects are located off the coasts of Atlantic City, NJ, Coos Bay, OR, and Virginia Beach, VA. Each employs innovative designs and technology meant to advance the affordability, efficiency, and resiliency of offshore wind power. (See News Release, DOE, Energy Department Announces Innovative Offshore Wind Energy Projects (May 7, 2014).) See the News Release for further information about the individual projects and links to descriptions of the technology involved.
June 14, 2014: President Obama announced a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition in which communities that have experienced natural disasters will compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The funding for the competition comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation, part of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. (See Fact Sheet, White House, National Disaster Resilience Competition (June 14, 2014).) The competition is intended to yield replicable models of modern disaster recovery and to help communities create and implement disaster recovery plans. (See Fact Sheet, White House, Taking Action to Support State, Local, and Tribal Leaders as They Prepare Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change (July 16, 2014).) More details about the competition are available from HUD.
June 25, 2014: The White House announced that during the first year of the Climate Action Plan a number of steps were taken to expand the use of clean energy in manufacturing. Two Clean Energy Manufacturing Institutes were set up, one to focus on developing electronics that have applications in solar and wind energy, LEDs, and electric vehicles, the other to develop technologies that improve efficiency in wind turbines and other applications. The institutes are backed by more than $280 million in combined public and private investment. In addition, 12 U.S. manufacturers received $150 million tax credits for clean energy manufacturing. And, through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, the Commerce Department is coordinating federal support for economic development strategies that focus on building local competitiveness for manufacturing, including for energy and power technologies. (See White House, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan—Progress Report, p. 3 (June 2014).)
July 16, 2014: FEMA has established a Mitigation Integration Task Force to develop and implement a Mitigation Integration Pilot Program by the end of August 2014. With partners from the public and private sectors, FEMA will identify pilot projects that offer the opportunity to maximize resilient outcomes by integrating multiple funding sources and programs. FEMA will also release new guidance for State Hazard Mitigation Plans that will require states to integrate considerations of climate variability in their assessment of disaster risks. More information is available from FEMA’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning site. (See Fact Sheet, White House, Taking Action to Support State, Local, and Tribal Leaders as They Prepare Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change (July 16, 2014).)
This page was last updated on July 16, 2014.