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Don’t call it climate change. Red states prepare for ‘extreme weather’

Don’t call it climate change. Red states prepare for ‘extreme weather’

LNU Lightning Complex fire


LNU Lightning Complex fire

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images| Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants half a billion dollars to protect his state from the ravages of “extreme weather events.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spent $1.6 billion to prepare communities for more devastating hurricanes.

But they still won’t say if they believe in climate change.

Even if conservative politicians can’t stomach the words, they’re spending money to combat the fallout hammering their states and cities. According to Georgetown University, 34 states have undertaken some climate-adaptation planning. This is a rare climate issue that appeals both to Republicans and Democrats. state policy tracker.

These costs will only increase as U.S. climate policies and global climate policies continue to be a major factor in their rise fall short of what’s neededto avoid worsening heat waves and floods. The U.S. has spent almost $700 billionOn disasters in the past five years, and a federal climate assessment from 2018 estimates annual losses could reach “hundreds of billions of dollars” by 2100.

“We must do that. Matt Carlucci, a Republican Jacksonville city councilmember who is making climate resilience part his campaign for mayor, said that Jacksonville has more waterfront miles than any other city. “The insurance industry will tell you that hurricanes will become more frequent and severe as climate change continues to occur.”

DeSantis is a Republican who aligns himself with former President Donald Trump. He proposed this week a $500,000,000 infusion of state funds to help local governments plan. Increasing flood risk and sea-level rise

Local politicians of all stripes love his “Resilient Florida” program. Palm Beach County plans to use the money for a climate vulnerability assessment. Jacksonville’s city council, which is more than two-thirds Republican is seeking support for four projects. $25 million is for a new stormwater pumping system “to counter the effects of flooding and sea rise.”

“If I’m elected mayor, we will be playing for every nickel that we can find,” said Carlucci, a State Farm insurance agent who dealt with the aftermath of hurricanes Matthew and Irma and wants to get ready for more like them.

Democrats in deep blue states often make clear the connection to climate change. Gov. Gavin Newsom chose Sequoia National Park as the backdrop for his budget bill, which allocates $3.7 billion to climate resilience. “We’re becoming a state of fire. “We’re at the tip end of the spear regarding the consequences of neglecting to decarbonize,” he stated last week.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy proposed expandingThe state’s Blue Acres buyout program for flood-prone property after Hurricane Ida left the state in September. It was destroyed by 30 people in floods. His Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, who narrowly lost this month’s election, also supported the proposal — even as he derided Murphy’s plansTo be too aggressive in moving away from fossil fuels.

“Climate change is real,” Ciattarelli said. “Human activity is accelerating it, and we need to do things right here and now to keep people out of harm’s way. That includes funding for Blue Acres.”

But conservative Republicans still refuse to explicitly connect global warming with what’s happening at home. Abbott consulted with a climate change-denying meteorologistBefore the February snowstorms that caused rolling blackouts for 5 million residents.

DeSantis avoided questions about humanity’s role in climate change, but he did unveil an executive order that created a resiliency officer to address climate impacts. “To me, it’s not so important what is the only cause.” he said. “If water is on the streets, then you need to find a solution.”

DeSantis didn’t mention global warming when he spoke this week said his proposed funding“Make us more able handle some extreme weather events.”

Yet one of his appointees — Shawn Hamilton, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection — couldn’t help but note the money would help communities deal with the “impacts of climate change.”

The political conversation in some Florida circles has evolved “to a point where we talk about sea level rise and then even climate change,” said Jim Murley, chief resilience officer for Miami-Dade County. “There was a period where they did not, but they have sort of grown out of that.”

Policies don’t necessarily have to mention the climate to help adapt to it, said Bob Kopp, a sea-level scientist and a climate policy scholar at Rutgers University. “If you get people out of their hyper-political spaces, I think most people don’t want their houses to flood,” Kopp said.

Spending money on shoring up infrastructure, planting trees and bailing out property owners are relatively easy decisions — particularly when the federal government is also getting into the game, spending tens of billions of dollarsInformation on flood control, wildfire defenses, property buyouts, and other climate-protection actions in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

However, it is difficult to assess whether the dollars spent on strengthening communities against the effects from global warming are well-spent. Success is often defined as avoiding losses and damages. A FEMA-funded studyEstimates show that adaptation measures save between $4 and $11 per dollars. The most cost-effective options are those that improve building codes and those that strengthen existing buildings and infrastructure. However, evaluating the effectiveness of specific projects can be more difficult.

“It is difficult to measure something that isn’t there,” said Kathryn Conlon, co-director of the Climate Adaptation Research Center at the University of California, Davis.

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It is difficult to define what actions are considered to be responding to climate change. Republicans are more likely not to file policies under climate adaptation, but rather “development”, “disaster mitigation” and “resilience”. As a result, there aren’t Excellent figures regarding state spending as a response to global warming.

However, the rising costs of natural catastrophes are evident. According to the Associated Press, extreme weather events have cost the United States at least $690billion in the past 5 years. National Oceanic Atmospheric AdministrationThis is more than twice the number of people who died in the past five years. This is due partly to an increase in extreme weather and increased population growth in vulnerable areas.

Jeff Schlegelmilch of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness said, “I do believe that voters will reach a breaking point once they experience more and more disasters as well as concurrent catastrophes.” “This will definitely help to move towards incentivizing political preparedness.”

Even blue state officials are making tougher choices. Newsom vetoed a billThat would have created a loan program for the purchase of coastal properties in California. However, local governments have resisted this idea. Politicians will soon have more difficult topics to discuss than spending federal stimulus dollars and budget surpluses.

Mathew Sanders (manager of the Pew Charitable Trust’s flood-prepared communities program) said, “It might signify that somebody isn’t going to have the ability to live there currently.”

California’s extreme drought, extreme wildfires, and breaking heat records are all forcing the issue,” Rachel Ehlers, a fiscal analyst with California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office said. She noted that at least 10 bills were introduced this year to address sea-level rise.

But the state’s latest draft adaptation strategyShe said that clearer goals are needed. “Until then, it’s just random restorations, really. We don’t have a sense about where we want to go or how successful we will be in getting there.”

Carlucci, the Jacksonville Republican, says he also wants the city to reduce its carbon footprint — and that he tries to convert climate-change skeptics by referring them to the “parts of the Bible that talk about what happens in the last days.”

“If you don’t believe it’s human-caused, then go to the Book of Revelation and have a look. He said that it will tell you about climate change in these last days. “That closes the discussion. We can now move on to the important things. Jacksonville is now more resilient.

This story was reported and written by POLITICO reporters Debra Kahn, Bruce Ritchie and Ry Rivard and E&E News reporter Mike Lee.

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