Chairman Carper Welcomes Administration Action to Help States Adapt to Climate Change

WASHINGTON- Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, welcomed the Administration’s new climate adaption measures, announced this morning. The new measures build on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which is aimed at cutting carbon pollution and to prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change. In addition, President Obama has called for a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience that will be comprised of state, local and tribal representatives, including Delaware Governor Jack Markell. That taskforce will be charged with providing the federal government with community perspectives on the effects of climate change.

“Today’s announcement is another important step forward in addressing our climate crisis,” said Chairman Carper. “As events like Superstorm Sandy, recent wildfires, and historic droughts have taught us, climate change is real and the effects can be devastating. I often like to say that we need to move beyond treating symptoms and start treating the underlying disease and so I am glad that President Obama’s Climate Action Plan focuses on ‘treating’ both the causes and impacts of extreme weather. Today’s announcement will build on this plan by directing agencies to conduct a review of ways to cut emissions while also providing the means and data communities need to prepare for the effects of climate change. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail, and that’s certainly true when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change. 

“As our country debates on how to address climate change, rising sea levels and extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy are the new norm,” Chairman Carper continued. “Costing our country – not just in lives impacted – but in true economic costs. I am glad the President has taken a proactive approach to addressing this very real problem.  I also applaud the President for appointing Governor Jack Markell, who is already leading Delaware in the right direction to address and combat climate change in our coastal state, to the newly created Task Force on Climate Preparedness.”

The President’s Executive Order on Climate Preparedness makes it easier for our communities – like those in Delaware – to start making the preemptive steps needed to be more prepared for extreme weather and other impacts of climate change.  This action will likely not only save lives, but will also save communities and federal government money. 

According to the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), extreme weather events, such as Superstorm Sandy and the 2012 drought, have increased in frequency over the last 50 years and are expected to continue to become more common, more intense and more costly to the federal government and to states and municipalities.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency alone obligated over $80 billion in federal assistance for disasters declared during fiscal years 2004 through 2011.  Preemptive steps such as creating natural storm barriers like dunes and wetlands and building our roads and bridges with rising sea levels in mind, will make communities and infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather, which will save money in the long run. In addition to actions taken at the federal level, the President also created a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to ensure our communities had a direct line to the federal government to make sure they get what they need to better prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Chairman Carper’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has partial jurisdiction over federal agencies’ efforts to implement these new directives. His Committee also oversees the nation’s top disaster preparedness and recovery agency, the Federal Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA). Earlier this year the Committee held a hearing on the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and the ongoing recovery efforts.

For more information on the White House announcement, please click here.