The New Buzzword: 'Climate 'Resilience'

These are the two buried headlines regarding the just-signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (aka "the $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill"). The first story nobody is talking about is the curious migration of climate nomenclature from “climate change” to “climate resilience.

The second story nobody is talking about is the $270 billion that has been earmarked for so-called “climate resilience”. We might refer to it as "pork" or "subsidies", but the fact is that it's money being thrown at the same con artists behind the climate movement.

We must not dismiss the change in terminology.  Climate “change” has always been a vague term that can be challenged by opponents, usually by pointing out that the “change” in Earth’s temperature is not significant enough to warrant hysteria.  Congress and the Climate Alarmists have gotten progressively craftier in the use of language.  Here’s how “resilience” is officially defined in Section 11103.(4) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

The term `resilience', with respect to a project, means a project with the ability to anticipate, prepare for, or adapt to conditions or withstand, respond to, or recover rapidly from disruptions, including the ability-to resist hazards or withstand impacts from weather events and natural disasters; or to reduce the magnitude or duration of impacts of a disruptive weather event or natural disaster on a project; and to have the absorptive capacity, adaptive capacity, and recoverability to decrease project vulnerability to weather events or other natural disasters.

This is insidiously brilliant.  By simultaneously using a more specific term, it permits the government to actually broaden the arenas to which grants can be made.  The bill does not contain language that limits or further defines these terms, which means just about anything goes as long as it can be related to making any form of infrastructure more “resilient.”

Old whines in new bottles.

When one digs into the specifics of Section 11405 of the bill, which is subtitled “The Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation program' or the "PROTECT program," it mostly involves anything having to do with roads, water, and drainage.  The language again demonstrates how it’s a big giveaway to the climate alarmists, because “eligible activities” for the grants include increasing “the resilience of surface transportation infrastructure from the impacts of changing conditions, such as sea level rise [and] flooding…”

Sixteen approved activities are listed, but the seventeenth is where things become a free-for-all, because “any other protective features, including natural infrastructure, as determined by the Secretary” are included.  That is, the money goes to wherever the Biden Administration wants it to go.

Here’s where some of rest of the billions are going.

Yet this goes beyond just improving highways. The government specifies that grants will be given to reduce or shift highway use to off-peak travel times, institute more toll roads, more of those pointless HOV lanes, and increase the cost of parking.  Also, just as you may have heard, there will be grants offered to development systems for “congestion pricing.”  The minimum grant in this portion of the bill is ten million dollars. But don’t worry, any projects approved “may include mitigation measures to deal with any potential adverse financial effects on low-income drivers.”

Not detailed enough?  It gets worse.  These assessments should then be compared to those assessments done in low-income and disadvantaged communities for the sake of “equity.”  Once all that is done, the heat island hot spots will be presumably cooled down by the installation of – ready? – “cool pavement.”  What is “cool pavement”?  That which has a reflective surface with higher reflectivity to decrease its surface temperature. Reflectivity is also known as “albedo” which naturally relates to climate change…. er…. I mean, climate resilience.

"Resilience" is the solution.

If one checks out the usual suspects in the world of climate change, it’s easy to see that they all supported the bill.  What’s distressing is that 13 Republicans also supported the bill.  Several of them claimed that by voting for this bill, it would hamstring the Democrats from getting the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill passed.  Fat chance.

As usual, a little research demonstrates why some of these politicians actually voted for the bill.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania was the top recipient of donations from transportation unions.  Rep. Don Bacon’s district in Nebraska includes one of the designated alternative fuel corridors mentioned above. Marathon Energy, a natural gas supplier, was the top donor to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York’s 11th District. Th the list goes on and on.

The good news is that any other hogs who wants to get into this line of work should have job security for a very long time.  There’s plenty of money sloshing around the pig sties.  It just happens to belong to the rest of us.

Climate Pork-a-Palooza

The massive new $1.2 trillion "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" contains $47 billion specifically designated to combat the imagined evils of climate change, the largest sum Congress has ever agreed to spend to fight the weather. This $47 billion that we as a country don’t have targets a problem we don’t have, and is part of H.R. 3684, the infrastructure package that will cost $1.2 trillion we don’t have.

The $47 billion in this hernia-causing, pork-barrel, 2,700-page bill is to foster “climate resilience,” an invented buzzword whose meaning is elastic enough to cover a whole range of programs.

Of course, first there was global warming, then climate change, and now this thing called “climate resilience.” This new and improved label that conveniently skips right over the question of whether there actually is a problem and whether we can do something about it, and goes straight to an assumption that manmade global warming is fact and must be dealt with urgently.

The money is fake but the pigs are real.

One enviro site defines climate resilience as “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate. Improving climate resilience involves assessing how climate change will create new, or alter current, climate-related risks, and taking steps to better cope with these risks.”

The mainstream media is in on this con, as usual. When the New York Times triumphantly reported final congressional approval of the bill Nov. 5, it lied, claiming the money would help cushion the blow of a fantasized environmental apocalypse that was already in progress.

“There were 22 climate disasters that cost at least $1 billion each in the United States in 2020, shattering the previous record of 16 events, which occurred in 2017 and 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” according to the Old Gray Lady. The funds will be used “to prepare the nation to withstand the devastating impacts of climate change,” and will “help communities prepare for the new age of extreme fires, floods, storms and droughts that scientists say are worsened by human-caused climate change.”

Here is how some of the $47 billion marked for climate resilience will be spent: $11.6 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control; $3.5 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Administration for flood mitigation and assistance; $550 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for forecasting climate change; $500 million to NOAA to improve mapping and forecast inland and coastal flooding; another $50 million to NOAA to predict, model, and forecast wildfires; $500 million to the Department of Agriculture for wildfire defense grants to at-risk communities; and $216 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for climate resilience and adaptation for Indian tribes supposedly affected by climate change.

Custer died for climate resilience.

But according to the people the federal government paid to produce the 2018 National Climate Assessment, this is a small down-payment on what really needs to be done to help people cope with a hyped, theoretical problem. That report estimates that adapting to climate change could cost “tens to hundreds of billions of dollars per year.”

“It’s a big deal,” President Joe Biden said late last month in a speech boosting the bill. “And we’ll build up our resilience for the next superstorm, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes that represent a blinking ‘code red’ for America and the world.”

The lure of easy pork that nobody in the mainstream media will complain about drew in some Republicans, including Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, who crowed about all the money it will bring to his state. He called the bill “the largest investment in infrastructure and coastal resiliency in the history of Louisiana.”

It’s easy for Cassidy to jump on the blame-storming bandwagon. “There’s people living in Lexington Parish, for example, flooded in 2016, whose lives — everything in their life was destroyed,” Cassidy said. “The pictures of their children, the wedding dress in which they married, the home in which they lived, which had never flooded before — the fact that we are helping our fellow Americans avoid that gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction.”

Cassidy: bringing home the bacon for Louisiana.

"Climate science" charlatans blame more or less everything bad that happens on manmade global warming. They point to anthropogenic climate change as the culprit in the burning down of big chunks of forests in California wildfires, ignoring the important role that government mismanagement of forests played. They blame it for creating Hurricane Ida, too, which in September left more than 80 people dead and millions without electricity in the Pelican State.

The funding set aside for climate-resilience projects is only part of the picture, however. The bill funds hundreds of billions of dollars in improvements to roads and other infrastructure to make them more resistant to extreme weather. It also provides $39 billion to boost low- and zero-pollution transportation sources, $7.5 billion to construct electric vehicle charging stations, $2.5 billion to buy electric school buses, and $400 million curb truck emissions at ports.

The measure further makes available $8 billion for water projects in drought-affected areas, $500 million for energy storage pilot projects, $500 million for curbing industrial emissions, $260 million for renewable energy, and funds a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations at the Department of Energy. There's also $5 billion for remediating abandoned oil and gas wells, $5 billion to clean up Superfund sites, and $11 billion to clean up abandoned mines.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat and an in-your-face leftist who enjoys threatening Supreme Court justices, moaned that the legislative package wouldn’t do much to mitigate the supposed problem of climate change itself. “There’s a lot of good stuff in the infrastructure bill to help us prepare for climate upheaval, but that package does very little to affect emissions, and therefore won’t prevent climate upheaval,” Whitehouse said.

Combatting this “upheaval” will be left to the proposed Build Back Better Act, which is still working its way through Congress but nearing passage. That bill would provide a taxpayer-funded bonanza for global-warmist profiteers. It contains another $555 billion we don’t have that is aimed at mitigating climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions they claim are forcing planet-wide temperatures higher.

Another big helping of pork, anybody?