Biden Pledges $3 Billion to Help the World Adapt to Climate Change

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World|Biden pledged $3 cardinal to assistance the satellite accommodate to clime change. That’s not arsenic overmuch arsenic it seems.

President Biden speaking connected  Tuesday during the COP26 acme  successful  Glasgow.
Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Christopher Flavelle

  • Nov. 2, 2021Updated 10:56 a.m. ET

The United States vowed astatine the Glasgow acme to commencement providing $3 cardinal each year, by 2024, to assistance processing countries accommodate to clime change. The Biden medication called it “the largest U.S. committedness ever made to trim clime impacts connected those astir vulnerable” worldwide, assuming that Mr. Biden tin transportation Congress to travel up with the money.

But however overmuch resilience and catastrophe betterment does $3 cardinal buy? A White House authoritative said that nary 1 was disposable to speech astir the pledge. So present are immoderate caller examination points:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency spent $50.2 cardinal connected disasters implicit the past 12 months, federal records show. That’s astir $3 cardinal each 22 days, for a state with conscionable 4 percent of the world’s population. And this wasn’t adjacent an particularly atrocious twelvemonth for storms.

  • After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans successful 2005, the United States spent $14.5 billion connected a bid of levees and pumps to support the metropolis of less than 400,000 radical from aboriginal storms. But adjacent that magnitude was capable lone to defender against a medium-strength storm. If different Katrina-scale hurricane struck, the metropolis would beryllium apt to flood again.

  • This summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended spending $29 billion connected barriers to support the Texas seashore from tempest surge — a task known arsenic the “Ike Dike,” truthful named due to the fact that the thought gained enactment aft Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston successful 2008.

  • New Orleans and Galveston are a bargain compared with New York City. The Army Corps of Engineers considered spending $119 billion to support the metropolis from flooding. In 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York needed $10 billion conscionable to support the eastbound borderline of Lower Manhattan.

How overmuch resilience tin the satellite anticipation to get if Biden comes done connected his $3 cardinal pledge? It mightiness beryllium capable to support a smaller mentation of Miami. The Corps of Engineers precocious projected spending $6 cardinal for a six-mile long, 20-foot-high oversea partition to support Miami from the Atlantic Ocean. (Locals hated the idea, saying it would ruin the view.)

“Any magnitude of wealth invested is moving successful the close direction,” Ed Johnson, erstwhile main fiscal serviceman astatine FEMA and present caput of EHJ-Solutions, a consulting group, said of Mr. Biden’s pledge. “But this should beryllium considered thing much than a tiny down payment.”

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