'Less food. More traffic accidents': Biden pushes federal agencies to evaluate climate change threats

'Less food. More traffic accidents': Biden pushes federal agencies to evaluate climate change threats

In contrast to former President Donald Trump and many other climate change deniers in the Republican Party, President Joe Biden's administration has acknowledged climate change as a very real danger. Under Biden, top officials in federal government agencies have spent months evaluating the threats they are facing because of climate change — along with possible ways to cope with them — and on Thursday, October 7, according to the New York Times, the Biden White House looked at the findings.

Times reporter Christopher Flavelle explains, "Less food. More traffic accidents. Extreme weather hitting nuclear waste sites. Migrants rushing toward the United States, fleeing even worse calamity in their own countries. Those scenarios, once the stuff of dystopian fiction, are now driving American policymaking…. The White House offered a first look at the results, releasing the climate-adaptation plans of 23 agencies, including the departments of Energy, Defense, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Transportation and Commerce. The plans reveal the dangers posed by a warming planet to every aspect of American life, and the difficulty of coping with those threats."

2021 has brought countless examples of the dangers of climate change, from wildfires and droughts in the western U.S. to hurricanes in the South. In early September, the remnants of Hurricane Ida — which had battered Louisiana — caused tornadoes in New Jersey and record flooding in New York City and Philadelphia.

Studying climate change, according to Flavelle, has been a high priority for the Biden Administration.

The Times journalist notes, "Stressing the urgency of the threat, the president gave agencies four months to come up with plans that listed their main vulnerabilities to climate change and strategies to address them…. The plans released Thursday are brief, many of them fewer than 30 pages. They include core themes: ensuring that new facilities meet tougher construction standards, using less energy and water at existing buildings, better protecting workers against extreme heat, educating staff about climate science, and creating supply chains that are less likely to be disrupted by storms or other shocks."

The individual agencies, in the report, point to specific threats. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture outlined ways in which climate change threatens the United States' food supply. The U.S. Department of Transportation, in the report, notes that climate change threatens the economy by threatening the transportation of goods and products. And the U.S. Department of Homeland Security points out that climate change-related disasters in other countries could result in large numbers of refugees.

According to DHS, "Climate change is likely to increase population movements from Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean."

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