The Federal Emergency Management Agency is generally known for its role in cleaning up after natural disasters. But part of its remit is to help states prepare for disasters that are likely to strike and take steps to reduce the likely damage. These state mitigation plans can receive federal funding through FEMA in the hopes that the agency will spend less when problems inevitably occur.
Last week, FEMA released the review guide that will govern these plans this time next year. And the guide has made the news because it explicitly states that climate change has to be considered in these plans: “FEMA will evaluate how climate change considerations can be incorporated into grant investment strategies with specific focus on infrastructure and evaluation methodologies or tools such as benefit/cost analysis.”
This, of course, could be awkward for a number of states. Florida recently generated headlines after allegations that an unofficial state policy dictated that climate change not be mentioned. Texas had previously censored a report to remove references to sea level rise. And North Carolina legislators went back and forth on whether to allow any agency in the state to use a scientific analysis of sea level.
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