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Mike Unveils Bold Plans for Climate and Wildfire Resilience

January 16, 2020

Mike is the first and only Democratic candidate to release standalone wildfire resilience plan; doubles federal funding for fire management and prevention

Science-based strategies ensure protection of U.S. lands and critical infrastructure from threats of climate change; prioritizes reducing life and property loss for vulnerable and low-income communities

Read Mike’s full plans for Climate Resilience and Wildfire Resilience

New York, NY — Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg today released his plans to ensure the United States is prepared for the reality of the climate crisis, including an ambitious plan to address wildfires, as rising global temperatures and unprecedented disasters devastate American communities and natural environments. As president, Mike will invest heavily not only to reduce the pollution that is causing climate change but also to foster adaptation and resilience to ensure that Americans across the country, as well as the critical infrastructure they rely upon, are prepared for flooding, fires, storm damage and other effects of climate change.

Mike’s science-backed plans prioritize underserved communities – including low-income, underserved, and disabled Americans – who often experience the worst impacts of extreme weather. Specifically, Americans with disabilities are disproportionately affected by extreme weather events and disasters and are 2 to 4 times more likely to die or sustain a critical injury. With a focus on catalyzing investment, giving priority to underserved communities and reinforcing critical infrastructure such as transportation and energy systems, Mike’s Climate Resilience and Wildfire Resilience plans will bring unprecedented levels of federal funding into resilience planning and adaptation strategies for all.

“President Trump’s efforts to drag us backward on climate change don’t just threaten our health and the environment — they also threaten our critical infrastructure and national security,” said Mike Bloomberg. “Raging wildfires, worsening storms, and rising temperatures continue to devastate our communities, and the federal government isn’t doing anywhere near enough to address them. As president, I will launch a full-scale effort to fight climate change and strengthen America’s resilience. We don’t have any time to waste.”

Mike’s policies will also bolster private investment in climate-smart infrastructure, protecting American communities while creating jobs and ensuring the federal government is prepared for growing risks. It will increase resources for everyone from farmers to local city planners, protect mission-critical military facilities put at risk by climate change, and set the U.S. on a path toward a more secure, prosperous future.

Mike’s Climate Resilience Plan

America is not equipped to withstand the increasing challenges posed by the climate crisis. The latest National Climate Assessment has projected that in the coming decades, we will experience major disruptions to our transportation and energy systems, more frequent and longer-lasting power outages, fuel shortages, and service disruptions, with impacts that cascade to other critical sectors and communities across the country. It is critical to better predict extreme weather events and invest in climate resilience to protect our country from the inevitable effects of climate change.

HOW MIKE WILL GET IT DONE:

  • Mike will prioritize the most vulnerable communities and invest in community resilience. Mike’s plan includes a new Climate-Safe Communities’ program, to coordinate planning and investment to better equip communities to withstand the impacts of climate change, with a focus on vulnerable communities and critical infrastructure, like energy, telecommunications, and other systems.
  • Mike will lead a government-wide initiative to provide cities, states and the private sector with better climate data and practices to build for climate resilience. Mike will invest in upgrading data capabilities with a climate impacts data hub to better help local and state leaders access and use the best available data.
  • Mike will direct the Department of Defense to invest in resilience for mission-critical facilities. Mike will reinstate the presidential directive on military preparedness for climate change and require that the DOD budget for climate resilience for mission-critical facilities.
  • Mike will create an Infrastructure Resilience Finance Corporation to provide loans, loan guarantees, credit enhancement and grants to help cities, states and the private sector invest in community resilience, critical infrastructure, and natural and working lands.
  • Mike will implement a cross-agency strategy to protect natural areas and farmlands, prioritizing areas that can protect communities from disasters, like floodplains and wetlands. Mike will task federal lands agencies to work with communities to develop a resilience strategy for natural and working lands and offer matchings grants to local and state governments to acquire or protect critical areas.
  • Mike will set best practices for the federal government to lead in promoting climate resilience. He will require that all new federal infrastructure – including in energy, telecommunications, public safety, defense, and transportation – be resilient to flooding, sea level rise and extreme weather, and he will require that national environmental reviews include climate change risks and impacts.

Mike’s Wildfire Resilience Plan

Compared to 1986, wildfires in the western U.S. now break out four times more often, burn more than six times the land area and last almost five times as long. These intensifying wildfires are also a source of carbon emissions and a growing component of greenhouse gas emissions from land and agriculture systems. That’s why Mike is prioritizing the fight to prevent wildfires as part of his overall approach to climate action and resilience.

HOW MIKE WILL GET IT DONE:

  • Mike will set a goal of reducing life and property loss from wildfires by half within four years, which would save the U.S. economy as much as $12 billion a year. Well-managed forests can resist fire and protect communities and bring thousands of jobs to rural and mountain communities.
  • Mike will double the U.S. federal government’s fire management budget to $10 billion annually to support management, firefighting and preventative measures. Mike’s plan will earmark half of that money toward efforts to prevent and mitigate wildfires to increase the nation’s resilience against this growing threat.
  • Mike will establish a new Fire Protection Corps, creating new jobs to make our communities and forests more resilient by reducing hazardous fuel loads, hardening communities against fires and, when necessary, fighting fires based on data and new innovative solutions.
    Mike will lead a comprehensive, coordinated, national effort to combat this crisis. Mike will direct the U.S. Forest Service to make fire resilience and carbon sequestration top priorities and engage all parties who must play a role in solving the wildfire crisis, from the federal government down to state, local, rural, and tribal governments and the private sector.

Despite the devastating floods, wildfires, storms, and droughts that have occurred during President Trump’s term in office, his administration has taken no steps to foster long-term resilience planning or empower states or regions to do the same. By blocking climate science and censoring mentions of “climate change” in official planning, President Trump has set back U.S. resilience and progress achieved by previous presidents. In fact, his suppression and censorship of climate science within federal agencies have undermined efforts to plan for coming risks or fund proactive resilience infrastructure.

Mike, on the other hand, has navigated extreme weather events as Mayor of New York City and demonstrated the crucial importance of proactively investing in resilience with data-backed strategies and a long-term risk analysis. Under Mike’s leadership, NYC worked with FEMA on better flood maps. The New York City Panel on Climate Change improved climate-impact forecasts. In New York City, Mike’s administration updated building codes to account for climate-change threats, including flooding.

A leading advocate for climate action for over a decade, Mike’s climate resilience and wildfire protection plans follow recent announcements that as president he will drastically reduce the emissions from the building and electricity sectors, on the way to a 100% clean energy economy before mid-century.

See more information on Mike’s Plans for Climate Resilience and Wildfire Resilience.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES

“In Tacoma, we are seeing the intensifying health and economic impacts of climate change from wildfire smoke to urban flooding,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards of Tacoma, Washington. “We need proactive leadership in the White House to build our climate resilience. Mike Bloomberg’s strategy will ensure aging infrastructure is upgraded to protect Americans while justly prioritizing the most vulnerable communities threatened by our climate crisis.”

Philip Levine, Former Mayor of Miami Beach, Florida: “Extreme weather caused by the climate crisis poses an immense threat to all Americans, and especially those working and living in our nation’s great coastal cities. Miami Beach is at the very front lines of this crisis. Upgrading our critical infrastructure to protect our community will require major investments on the federal, state and local level. Mike’s plan demonstrates that he is serious about protecting our nation’s most at risk Americans, and I’m confident of his leadership in the White House to be our climate champion.”

“In my 30-plus year career in forest and fire protection, we have been living through climate change each and every day and its effects are only getting worse,” said Ken Pimlott, Retired Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. ”Mike Bloomberg’s unique wildfire resilience plan stands out as it raises the bar in how we should approach wildfire prevention and suppression, including developing a skilled workforce to boost the boots on the ground for the capacity we need to take on an issue California knows all too well.

“We must prepare our communities for the changing climate by investing in seawalls, dams, electrical grids, water systems, and other infrastructure systems we need to be resilient,” said Carter Strickland, Former Commissioner, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and environmental leader. “From creating the first citywide sustainability and resiliency plans to making billions of dollars in investments that have made New York City safer, and by using sound science to create actionable plans that prioritize the most at risk populations, Mike’s track record and clear-headed approach proves that the leadership we need to build for and adapt to the extreme weather events we are already experiencing.”

“The ideas presented in this resilience plan are bold, proactive, and scalable making it easier for individuals, businesses, communities, and states to do the right thing when it comes to climate change and our environment. This a moral imperative that strongly speaks to faith communities and others,” said Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, Jewish environmental theologian and activist.

“There is no refuting that the trend of extreme fire behavior has rapidly increased over the last decade, severely impacting large areas of state and federal lands and threatening or destroying numerous communities,” said Todd McNeal, Twain Harte, California Fire Chief. “As a Fire Chief of a community in the wildland urban interface and as a member of a Federal Incident Management Team for the last 14 years, I have seen the impacts of large wildland fire incidents. I am encouraged that there is a growing recognition of this issue at the national level. I am further encouraged by the willingness of a candidate to advocate for a leadership role of the Federal Government to facilitate the multi-jurisdictional alliances and groundwork necessary to combat this deadly reality in our great Nation.”

“Climate-fueled megafires threaten our communities, water, wildlife, and our way of life in the West and beyond,” said Collin O’Mara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation. “There is no silver bullet to protect people and wildlife from megafires—we must simultaneously act on climate, significantly accelerate the pace and quality of forest restoration, unleash unprecedented collaboration, and build resilient communities and infrastructure. It’s welcome news that candidates like Mayor Bloomberg are proposing comprehensive solutions to this critical issue.”

“Each year, the devastation that wildfires bring to our cities and communities worsens, and instead of creating a proactive plan to prevent further catastrophe, our current president continues to toss blame and threats of pulling federal funding,” said Antha Williams, senior advisor to Mike on climate, energy and environment. “We need a president who will confront the crisis at hand — and that is what Mike intends to do. Mike will prioritize the fight to prevent wildfires and increase the nation’s resilience in withstanding further devastation. This collaborative plan will lead the way.”

“From the destruction of Paradise, CA, to the floods across the midwest, the last few years have offered a sobering lesson in just how far we must go to upgrade our climate resilience and cope with the widespread risk of wildfires,” said Carl Pope, Mike Bloomberg’s senior climate advisor and co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Climate of Hope. “Mike is the first and only candidate to tackle the issue of wildfires. His comprehensive strategy meets the reality of the 21st century with a concrete plan for boosting resilience and safeguarding American communities.”

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