Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Obama Signs a Climate Change Resilience Executive Order

On the morning of Friday November 1, 2013, President Obama signed an executive order (EO) designed to prepare the country for climate-related disasters. Climate change adaptation cannot wait for the Congress, so the President is using his executive privileges to do what they won't.

This is a tangible follow-up to his Climate Action Plan which the President unveiled in June. Obama has clearly grown weary of Republican obstructionism in Congress. Their knee jerk opposition to almost anything that he or the Democrats propose is making a farcical comedy of America's democracy (particularly anything to do wilth climate change).

It is hard to believe those in the GOP who claim that their reflexive resistance to legislative action is due to the fact that they are preoccupied with fiscal responsibility. In 2012 alone such events cost Americans more than $100 billion dollars.

Climate change induced extreme weather in the form of heat waves, storms, wildfires, droughts and wildfires, will not wait for political solutions. In addition to these severe weather events we can expect to see civilization altering impacts including melting permafrost, ocean acidification and sea level rises.

It is clear to all but the partisan, that Republicans are politically motivated deniers. They are beholden to old energy interests who have already cost the nation hundreds of billions and each day that we dither the price tag associated with climate change increases.

The President's EO calls on federal agencies to reduce carbon and protect communities from the effects of climate change. The President is also trying to collect and share data that will be useful in creating "decision-support tools on climate preparedness and resilience.” Such information will be publicly available on the data.gov website.

The EO sets up a task force that is mandated to find ways to improve resilience in US communities. This almost unanimously Democratic effort includes only one Republican, Gov. Eddie Calvo of Guam.

The task force recommendations will be passed on to an inter-agency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience which will be staffed by senior federal government officials representing more than 30 federal government departments. Based on these recommendations, the council will review and enact changes in federal agencies.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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