Thursday, December 2News That Matters

Biden Doubles FEMA Program to Prepare for Extreme Weather

“Today that down payment grew substantially, but as a nation we must still do more,” said Mr. Kaniewski, a managing director at Marsh & McLennan Companies, a consulting firm. “It will take investment from all levels of government, the private sector, and each of us individually to mitigate the risks.”

The administration also announced a new effort by NASA to measure the effects of climate change. That initiative, called the Earth System Observatory, will involve five new satellites, which will go into orbit between 2023 and 2029, at a cost of $2.5 billion. Each satellite will be uniquely designed to work with the others to provide a three-dimensional “holistic view of Earth, from bedrock to atmosphere”, the agency said.

“It will be looking at and measuring the interactions between the atmosphere, land, ocean, and ice,” Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA and a former Democratic senator from Florida, said in an interview Monday. “When you measure those interactions, you have a better idea of predicting, in a broad sense, climate change — and in a more specific sense, the direction and velocity and the twist and turns of a hurricane.”

The announcement follows criticism that the Biden administration hasn’t made climate resilience more of a priority.

The administration has moved quickly on climate change, convening a summit of world leaders in April and announcing an aggressive new target to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

But experts are increasingly urging the federal government to help prepare communities for the destructive impact of that warming.

The White House has begun to respond. Last week, Mr. Biden signed an executive order that reinstated an Obama-era rule imposing higher standards on federally funded construction in flood zones. (The White House initially said Mr. Biden had reinstated that rule on his first day in office, but later said that wasn’t the case.)