A $16 billion federal program to help states prepare for natural disasters reflects the complicated politics of global warming in the U.S., even as officials are increasingly forced to confront its effects.
States applying for funding must explain why they need the money and describe their “current and future risks.” When those include flooding, states must account for “continued sea level rise,” a consequence of warming.
But some conservative states have submitted proposals that mostly avoid mentioning climate change. Texas refers to “changing coastal conditions” and South Carolina talks about the “destabilizing effects and unpredictability” of three major storms in four years.
One exception is Florida, whose proposal calls climate change “a key overarching challenge.”
Related: Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old climate activist, is expected to criticize inaction by the world’s business and political leaders during a speech today in Davos, Switzerland. Read a transcript of her planned remarks.
Another angle: Australia’s biggest mining company announced today that coal output was down because of smoke from wildfires, a crisis exacerbated by climate change, which is caused in no small part by the burning of coal. The irony was not lost on many Australians.