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New Obama plan aims to prepare communities for climate change

A presidential task force to aid rebuilding after hurricanes released a strategy to serve as a model for communities facing risks from extreme weather.
Hurricane Sandy - Michele Richinick - 08/19/2013
An aerial photograph shows a demolition company taking down homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, in Ocean Beach, N.J., on April 27, 2013.

A presidential task force to aid rebuilding after hurricanes on Monday released a strategy to serve as a model for communities across the country facing risks from extreme weather conditions.

The plan, released by President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, contains 69 policy recommendations that aim to align federal funding with local visions, help homeowners repair their property, strengthen small businesses, renew local economies, and ultimately ensure communities can survive and recover from future storms similar to last year's Hurricane Sandy.

"The recommendations show we have much work to do hardening our energy, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructure—and the federal government must be a proactive partner with local governments and the private sector as we build and rebuild to face a new global climate reality," Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement.

Sandy left much of New York City flooded and without power. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in June proposed a $20 billion long-term plan to protect the area from extreme weather brought on by climate change.

Related: Scenes from Hurricane Sandy

One of the task force recommendations is to prioritize all large-scale infrastructure projects and ensure they are built to withstand the impacts of climate change. The initiatives also focus on ways to minimize fuel shortages and power outages when future storms arrive.

"We can argue about the cause for the weather change, and we can argue about whether the cause was human behavior or a natural cycle of weather patterns, but you can’t argue about the effect,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York told MSNBC in November.

The United States experienced the warmest year on record in 2012, MSNBC recently reported. Temperatures also reached unprecedented levels worldwide last year.