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A New York Times investigation published last weekend found that the National Association of Home Builders was able to prevent changes to “model” building codes that would have made new houses in much of the country more energy-efficient or more resilient to floods, hurricanes, and other disasters. According to the Times, the Home Builders — which represents 140,000 builders, suppliers and others in the industry — signed a “secret agreement” with the International Code Council that gave them the right to select four of the eleven voting members of (and thus essentially control) the committee responsible for the International Residential Code, which most state and local governments use to regulate home construction.
Why This Matters: The Homebuilders seem to believe that building climate resilience and energy efficiency into homes is extravagant and will price people out of new homes. These climate requirements generally pay for themselves over time in energy savings and lower insurance costs. Before the Homebuilders had seats on the committee that handles energy, the energy efficiency requirements of those building codes increased 32 percent over six years, according to a federal analysis. But after the industry members joined the codes committees, that number was less than 3 percent over the same amount of time. Building homes that won’t last is very short-sighted and just another form of climate denial.
The homebuilders are planning to vote against changes such as requiring better insulation in attics and air ducts, as well as requiring new houses to be equipped with the circuitry required to install a plug for an electric vehicle — potentially making it easier for homeowners to switch to electric cars in the future.
In the past, the Homebuilders have stopped proposals it did not support including those mandating tougher foundations in flood-prone areas or ensuring that roofs were less likely to blow off during a hurricane.
What Do Consumer Advocates Want
With impending climate change, consumer advocates argue that setting the standards with climate change in mind is a decision that will be benefit future generations who will face more powerful storms and a higher risk of damage to property.
We wrote earlier this year that climate change was fueling an outbreak of swarming locusts in East Africa, and now the insects have made it to India’s heartland where they have devastated crops and livelihoods in a region already struggling with coronavirus, a heatwave in the capital, a recent cyclone, and 100 million people out […]
A new, nationwide public opinion survey conducted by Yale from April 7–17 found that a record-tying 73% of Americans think global warming is happening and only 10% deny it, but most believe it is happening to others and not to them.
Why This Matters: The pollsters expected they would find that because the public is so concerned about the pandemic that they would not have the ability to maintain their concern about climate change — a theory that social scientists call the “finite pool of worry.” But that was not the case.
Cornell University’s Board of Trustees announced on Friday that the University will make no new investments in fossil fuels, and it is believed that they have been divesting of their previous investments for several years, though the details of their endowment are not public.
Why This Matters: The climate movement has been led by young people and one easy focus of their activism is the universities they attend.
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