FEMA will require states to evaluate risks of climate change

Beginning in 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will require states to evaluate the risks climate change poses to their communities to gain access to millions of dollars of disaster preparedness funding, according to www.bdcnetwork.com.

The goal is for states to better plan for natural disasters they likely will face. The new requirement will not affect the post-disaster relief 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, including 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.

Many believe billions of dollars could be saved if states did more for climate preparedness. A 2007 Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that for every dollar spent on disaster preparedness and mitigation, three dollars are saved on disaster recovery.