How to Advance Infrastructure and Investment in the Face of Climate Change

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America has begun the hard work of rebuilding our infrastructure. … We need to repair our existing infrastructure, and invest in the infrastructure of tomorrow including high-speed rail, high-tech schools, and power grids that are resilient to future extreme conditions.” — President Barack Obama, in his proposed fiscal year 2014 budget

With these words, President Obama last week put forward his FY 2014 budget plan, which included a historic pairing of issues that deserve careful attention: infrastructure and resilience. Two of the lynchpin proposals unveiled in the president’s larger budget blueprint were a major new program for infrastructure reconstruction and a plan for improving the resilience of American communities in a rapidly changing global climate. The linking of these two issues is essential to addressing perhaps the greatest challenge facing the U.S. economy and America’s competitive footing in a generation: retooling the infrastructure of the U.S. economy to operate on clean energy systems capable of averting the worst damage resulting from global climate change.

As the administration is getting to work defending the principles within the president’s proposals, another noteworthy event is taking place this week in Washington, D.C.: Former President Bill Clinton and a group of the nation’s leading mayors will meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and other private-sector leaders to discuss in detail how local governments are already moving forward on this challenge, and discuss ways to drive private-sector investment into the publicly beneficial infrastructure underpinning our economy.

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