Obama to ask Congress to back a $1 billion “Climate Resilience Fund”

The fund would help communities adapt to the effects of climate change that are already underway

Topics: Barack Obama, Congress, Climate Change, Extreme weather, drought, California, ,

Obama Friday plans to propose a $1 billion “Climate Resilience Fund” that — if he can get Congress to agree to it — would help communities adapt to the current and future effects of climate change. Politico reports:

The fund, according to the White House, would go to research on the projected impacts of climate change, help communities prepare for climate change’s effects and fund “breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure.”

…White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told POLITICO that Obama “is going to continue to make the case that climate change is already hurting Americans around the country and that it will only get worse for our children and grandchildren if we leave it for future generations to deal with.”

The administration will also direct millions of dollars into livestock disaster assistance, conservation programs, watershed protection and food banks, and will work to cut back on water use at federal facilities, according to a White House fact sheet.

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Obama will make the announcement during a visit to California, which is currently suffering through a record drought. According to John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Obama will emphasize the current scientific understanding of how, while no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, a warming climate can make things like drought more extreme:

“We really understand a number of the reasons that global climate change is increasing the intensity and the frequency and the life of drought in drought-prone regions,” Holdren told reporters Thursday night. “This is one of the better-understood dimensions of the relationship between global climate change and extreme weather in particular regions.”

Those effects include more rainfall that occurs in heavy downpours, meaning less is absorbed into the earth and more becomes runoff; more rain and less snowfall in the mountains, which means less melting snow to feed rivers in the spring and summer; and higher temperatures causing more evaporation.

“There are other, more subtle, ways climate change may be affecting the prevalence of drought; scientists are still arguing about those,” Holdren said. “The three I just described are more than enough to understand why we are seeing droughts in drought-prone regions becoming more frequent, more severe and longer.”

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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