At the Glasgow summit, the United States pledged to provide services. $3 billion each yearTo help developing countries adapt by 2024 climate change. The Biden administration called it “the largest U.S. commitment ever made to reduce climate impacts on those most vulnerable” worldwide, assuming that Mr. Biden can persuade Congress to come up with the money.
But how much resilience or disaster recovery can $3 billion buy? A White House official stated that no one was available for discussion about the pledge. Here are some recent comparison points.
Over the past 12 months, the Federal Emergency Management Agency spent $50.2 million on disasters. federal records show. That’s about $3 billion every 22 days, for a country with just 4 percent of the world’s population. And this wasn’t even an especially bad year for storms.
The United States spent $1,050,000 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. $14.5 billionA series of pumps and levees were built to protect the city of less than 400,000 residents from future storms. Even that amount was not enough to protect against a storm of moderate strength. The city would likely flood again if another Katrina-scale hurricane strikes.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recommended spending this summer $29 billion on barriers to protect the Texas coast from storm surge — a project known as the “Ike Dike,” so named because the idea gained support after Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in 2008.
New Orleans and Galveston offer a bargain when compared to New York City. The Army Corps of Engineers thought about spending $119 billionProtect the city from flooding. In 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated New York needed $10 billionJust to protect Lower Manhattan’s eastern edge.
How much world resilience can we expect to achieve if Biden keeps his $3 billion pledge? It might be enough to save a smaller version Miami. The Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $6 billion on a six-mile-long, 20-foot-high seawall to protect Miami from Atlantic Ocean. (Locals) hated the ideaIt would ruin the view, he said.
“Any amount of money invested is moving in the right direction,” Ed Johnson, former chief financial officer at FEMA and now head of EHJ-Solutions, a consulting group, said of Mr. Biden’s pledge. “But this should be considered nothing more than a small down payment.”