Washington, D.C. — As Congress debates recovery funding for states most damaged by superstorm Sandy, the Center for American Progress today released “An Ounce of Prevention: Increasing Resiliency to Climate-Related Extreme Weather.” To help communities reduce their vulnerability to future extreme weather events, we propose the creation of a “community resilience fund,” to provide dedicated revenue for financial and technical assistance to vulnerable communities. The dedicated revenue source should be identified by a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel appointed by President Barack Obama.
The blue-ribbon panel recommended in this column should be given a short window of time to produce a carefully focused report that:
- Calculates federal expenditures on disaster relief and recovery over the past several years
- Estimates the cost of financial support communities need to adequately implement plans to increase their resilience to floods, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events
- Recommends a secure revenue stream to provide resources for predisaster mitigation planning
- Establishes eligibility criteria for applications for revenue from this fund
To ensure that communities have these resources, there must be a dedicated source of revenue to fund predisaster mitigation programs that is not susceptible to budget cuts or political manipulation. Since the frequency and/or severity of extreme weather events will be exacerbated by climate change, it makes sense to raise revenue for resiliency from the fossil fuels whose combustion emits carbon pollution responsible for climate change. Here are some potential revenue sources and the amount they would have raised in 2012:
- $1 per ton fee on carbon pollution from the energy sector: $5.4 billion
- $1 per barrel fee on petroleum and crude oil consumption: $6.4 billion $2 per barrel fee on imported crude oil consumption: $6.4 billion
- 10 cents fee per vehicle mile traveled by cars: $8.4 billion
- A one-fifth of one cent fee per kilowatt hour of electricity from coal, petroleum, or natural gas: $5 billion
- Eliminating special tax breaks for the five largest oil and gas companies: $2.4 billion
A bipartisan blue-ribbon panel appointed by the president could promptly recommend and advocate for the most effective source of assured funding so that cities can better protect their residents and the infrastructure vital to our economy. Dedicated funding for predisaster mitigation will protect lives, shield middle- and lower-income households from the worst impacts of extreme weather, and save taxpayers money over time.
To speak with Daniel J. Weiss, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or gro.ssergorpnacirema@elauqsapidc.