The Biden administration said it will direct billions of taxpayer dollars toward “nature-based” climate change solutions, which includes plans for “bringing the power of nature to maximize the value and resilience of military bases.”
The White House on Tuesday released its “Roadmap for Nature-Based Solutions to Fight Climate Change,” which the White House says will “put America on a path that will unlock the full potential of nature-based solutions to address climate change, nature loss, and inequity.” It said $25 billion worth of current and pending projects are already aligned toward this goal.
“Nature-based solutions” means actions to protect or restore ecosystems that are also “solutions to societal challenges,” such as the conservation of natural areas that help boost resilience to flooding or heat.
President Biden initiated this new effort with an executive order he signed on Earth Day this year, which directed federal agencies to pursue nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.
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One element of the roadmap calls on the Department of Defense to create a guide for “nature-based solutions for Military Installation natural resources management planning.” That guide will “provide military installation planners and managers with current and actionable information on the appropriate use of nature-based solutions; the current state of science and observed performance reliability; and other considerations regarding design, cost and benefits, implementation, and operations and maintenance.”
Under White House direction, an early draft of this guide is due in March 2023.
The plan calls for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to consider “nature-based solutions” as alternatives for all projects that have the potential to affect floodplains or wetlands. It said FEMA has already started to make things easier for “disadvantaged communities” to fund projects with “nature-based solutions.”
In addition to finding “nature-based solutions” for military installations, the administration said it would look for similar solutions for “energy, the economy and national security.” For example, the administration is rating Department of Energy sites for climate sustainability and wants the department to also rate sites on environmental justice and cultural resource protection.
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The plan asks several agencies to expand funding that will help train workers in the area of nature-based solutions, in order to “support good jobs in federal agencies and the private sector.” To support that goal, the Department of Treasury will produce reports on “How Climate Challenges American Household Finances.”
The White House noted that federal agencies are already using funding from the 2021 infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act to fund similar priorities. These include conservation, reforestation and habitat restoration led by the Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is distributing $837.5 million in grant funds and $4 billion in loan authority to improve “energy efficiency, water efficiency, and climate resilience.”
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John Podesta, the senior advisor to the president for clean energy innovation and implementation, presented the new White House plan at the opening of the U.S. Center at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties. Biden was set to travel to the conference in Egypt on Wednesday.