VP Harris spoke on Monday, calling climate change an “immediate” and “urgent” crisis.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Florida International University to announce a series of grants being created to help states and communities better deal with climate-related disasters. The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program will help prepare for and recover from floods, wildfires, and extreme temperatures.

“Climate change has become a climate crisis, and a threat has now become a reality,” said VP Harris in her speech. She spoke of the floods that have battered Kentucky and Missouri for the past week, with 37 dead and hundreds missing. And of the wildfires in California, which have broken records for several years in a row for quantity and longevity. Just this weekend, the remains of two people were found in a charred-out car in the path of a wildfire.

“The devastation is real. The harm is real. The impact is real,” VP Harris said. “And we are witnessing it in real time. The frequency has accelerated in a relatively short period of time. The science is clear. Extreme weather will only get worse, and the climate crisis will only accelerate.”

According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 20 large-scale climate-related disasters in 2021 (large being defined as doing over $1 billion in damage). In the 1990s, there were an average of six per year.

The billion-dollar grant program announced by VP Harris is a 100% increase over last year, and there are plans to double it again in October. It will provide grants to states with communities requiring FEMA assistance. Some of it is already being doled out, as communities struggle with long heat waves and record-breaking temperatures.

The grants will fund mitigation projects like raising roadbeds, retrofitting parks as flood abatement spaces, and maintaining pump stations and levies.

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