FEMA to require states to evaluate risks posed by climate change

The aim is for states to do a better job planning for natural disasters they are likely to face in a warming world.

May 01, 2015 |
FEMA to require states to evaluate risks posed by climate change

States will be required to evaluate the risks of climate change before being granted access to disaster relief funds. Image: Pixabay/Antranias

Beginning next year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will require states to evaluate the risks that climate change poses to their communities in order to gain access to millions of dollars of disaster preparedness funding.

The aim is for states to do a better job planning for natural disasters they are likely to face in a warming world. The new requirement won’t affect the post-disaster relief that communities receive after being damaged by natural disasters.

The rule change is part of FEMA’s revision to its State Hazard Mitigation Plan guidelines. FEMA distributes disaster preparedness funds to states that submit documents outlining the risks they face and how they plan to address them.

These efforts can include purchasing flood-prone properties to prevent future losses, building air-conditioned refuges for major heat waves, or creating procedures for shutting down or moving equipment in a floodplain.

Though the new policy has irked some on the right, even some fiscal conservatives say that if states did more for climate preparedness and adaptation, billions of dollars could be saved.

Bolstering that notion, a 2007 Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that for every dollar spent on disaster preparedness and mitigation, three dollars are saved in disaster recover.

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