US EPA tries to focus on climate mitigation

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to add climate change mitigation to its national focus over the next four years.

The EPA announced Thursday that it is considering adding environmental justice, climate change and PFAS pollution (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, man-made chemicals used in a range of consumer and industrial products) to its 2024 National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives -2027.

Every four years, the EPA selects national initiatives to focus resources on “serious and widespread environmental problems where federal enforcement can make a difference.” The aim is to protect human health and the environment by holding polluters accountable through enforcement and by helping entities comply.

The EPA is seeking public comment on its proposal during a 60-day comment period. The EPA also proposes to continue the following current NECIs over the next four-year cycle:

  • Creating cleaner air for communities by reducing excess emissions of harmful pollutants.
  • Reducing the risks of accidental releases in industrial and chemical installations.
  • Reduction of significant non-compliance in the national system for the removal of pollutant discharges (program.
  • Reducing non-compliance with drinking water standards in community water systems.

Infectious disease

According to the World Economic Forum, climate change is contributing to a growing infectious disease burden.

Measles cases worldwide rose 79% in the first two months of 2022, and in refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, a diphtheria outbreak infected nearly 8,000 people in 2018, the organization wrote this week, saying called for coordinated action on the issue.

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Despite medical, scientific and sanitary advances, there is an increased risk of spreading infectious diseases.

“Climate change — which is an emergency not only for the environment, but also for public health — is meeting existing factors such as globalization, urbanization and inequality to fuel disease transmission,” the organization wrote. “New pathogens are emerging and existing ones are coming back to haunt us.”

Climate change is sending the world “headlong into another health crisis,” the organization wrote.

Climate change contributes to the emergence of new diseases and exacerbates existing diseases, such as tuberculosis, which has been shown to be a climate-sensitive disease, while malaria can also be affected by a warmer climate likely favoring the spread of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, according to the World Economic Forum.

Disruptive weather and insurers

Scientists say if trends of more frequent and disruptive weather events due to climate change continue, the high cost of claims could continue to affect insurers around the world for years to come.

That comes from a recent article by Insurance Journal reporter Allen Laman, who covered a joint NASA and NOAA webinar earlier this month.

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The data presented at the event showed that 2022 was one of the warmest years since the late 1800s, continuing a trend that has seen gradual global warming over the past few decades.

“These frequent and increasingly costly extreme events impact humans and have an economic impact,” Sarah Kapnick, NOAA’s chief scientist, said during the presentation.

According to Kapnick, the US experienced its third most costly year ever for weather and climate-related disasters, with damage exceeding $165 billion.

Kapnick explained that the US consistently has both the highest total number and the greatest diversity of different types of weather and climate extremes leading to billion-dollar disasters.

She said this is generally due to two factors.

“First, a high example of many extremes where both exposure and vulnerability are high for causing harm,” Kapnick said. “And second, climate change is amplifying certain types of extremes that can lead to billion-dollar disasters.”

NOAA awards

NOAA announced a $20.5 million award for the coordinated management of ocean and coastal resources across the country, including funding to encourage weather data sharing.

The recommended federal funds are expected to improve cooperation between states, tribal governments and the federal government.

The awards support projects that promote regional ocean partnerships and data sharing between ocean users. Regional Ocean Partnerships are regional organizations convened by governors to work on shared priorities and challenges in coordination with federal and tribal governments in multiple states.

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A total of 13 awards were given to tribes and partners:

  • $15.7 million went to four existing regional ocean partnerships to address increasing ocean use, support sustainability, track climate impacts on shifting ecosystems, and strengthen regional capacity to share and integrate federal and non-federal ocean resources. and coastal data.
  • $1.1 million will go to four federally recognized tribes or tribal organizations to support tribal actions related to regional ocean and coastal priorities.
  • $3.7 million went to five regional associations of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System to improve regional data sharing capacity and better integrate federal and non-federal data in regions without existing regional ocean partnerships. Funding will also help build new information portals to facilitate access to data and data products that support regional coastal, ocean and Great Lakes management priorities.

“This recommended funding empowers communities to better plan for future change as we build a climate-resilient nation,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. “NOAA appreciates the contributions of all partners to better understand and manage climate-related risks.”

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