At long last, we are beginning to see investment from the federal government to help communities build climate resilience. The Biden Administration’s commitment to both climate and equity is seen in the recent funding opportunity released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
This funding is likely to total $4 million with investment potentially tripling starting in year two of the four year program. For those of us who held on through four years of the Trump Administration followed by a year of COVID, during which local government resilience efforts largely ground to a halt, this new program is welcome news!
The selected project partner (or team) will help NOAA administer a new Climate Smart Communities Initiative, which aims to help 400+ communities build climate resilience over the next four years. Even more exciting is that they are looking to build up the capacity in the field so that even more communities can receive help. And, they have centered the social equity needs of under-resourced communities in this program.
While the focus is primarily on the adaptation side of resilience, we hope the program can be designed in such a way to include the work to reduce greenhouse gases. As this summer has shown us, we must build resilience while we work aggressively to limit the eventual extent of climate change.
We convened a team of adaptation organizations that will put forward a proposal to manage this program – and we’ve got a real shot at the award. Scaling adaptation services nationwide has been a primary goal of our community resilience work and we are well-positioned, in large part because of the support we have received from individuals, like you, over the past 10 years.
The clock is ticking to cut our emissions by half by 2030, but with real investment by the federal government to build climate resilience through this program and others, we are seeing a tangible path forward.
We also recently put forward a proposal to Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley to use congressionally designated appropriations to help lift climate services in Oregon. The program is competitive, and it’s a long-shot, but we remain hopeful that resources will arrive that allow us to more directly help our home state.
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