The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Thursday announced two initiatives to advance climate change resilience.
The initiatives are the formation of a corporate steering group for climate adaptation and a strong stakeholder engagement process put in place to help develop the agency’s 2022-2026 strategic plan.
In a statement, the agency said the actions were essential first steps in its efforts to deal with the crisis.
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“Climate change is the crisis of this generation. Tackling it requires mitigating future risks and reducing impacts,” FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said in a statement. âIn partnership with federal science agencies, we are analyzing how climate change will increase the frequency and severity of all hazards and what next steps are needed to protect communities nationwide. FEMA also advances sustainability through our facilities, operations and programs, including reducing emissions. and promote nature-based solutions.
According to FEMA, the Climate Adaptation Steering Group is focused on developing a unified agency approach to addressing the impacts of climate change across all agency programs and operations.
The group will be co-chaired by the leadership of the FEMA Response and Recovery Office, FEMA Resilience and Regions Office.
FEMA’s 2022-2026 strategic plan is also being developed with input from internal and external stakeholders.
Following recent executive orders from the Biden administration on climate change, equity and environmental justice, FEMA said it would increase climate awareness among emergency managers, create climate resilient communities and strengthen risk-informed decision-making using a “community approach”.
âAs our nation grapples with the impacts of climate change, the challenge is clear. It is imperative that we invest in building a more resilient nation. Our programs and policies must protect communities and the economy from the worst impacts of climate-related disasters before they happen, âsaid Criswell.
The administration has issued several decrees related to climate change since taking office in January, including one “Executive ordinance on combating the climate crisis at home and abroad”, a “Executive ordinance on the financial risk linked to the climate” And one “Executive Ordinance on the Protection of Public Health and the Environment and the Restoration of Science to Address the Climate Crisis.”
The White House also canceled dozens of Trump-era environmental policies with the intention of facing many others.
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This weekend, President Biden will meet with world leaders in Rome for the G-20 summit and later attend the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
All of this comes amid continued haggling in Congress over legislation to advance U.S. climate goals and as scientists continue to deliver dire messages about the future of planet Earth.
In a list of additional resilience measures, FEMA said it will continue to develop new initiatives to respond to the climate crisis through its existing authorities and responsibilities.
For example, FEMA is expanding its National Risk Index, announcing funding opportunities to help states and communities prepare for disasters through FEMA’s Risk Mitigation Assistance Grant programs, implementing Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, funding mitigation efforts in FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program to Help Homeowners Rebuild After Disasters, Correct Flood Insurance Inequalities, and Update the National Flood Insurance Program pricing methodology, update the ‘Building Owner and Occupant Building Code Toolkit’, and hold the sixth annual Resilient Nation Partnership Network Forum virtually throughout of October with NASA.
âCommunities across the country continue to witness the devastating and growing impacts of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, droughts and other weather events,â FEMA said in a statement. âThe increase and severity of disasters weighs on our emergency management partners and has a disproportionate impact on historically underserved communities. FEMA is working across the agency and with its partners to identify a way forward.
In an August report, UN climatologists have warned the Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in a decade or so will likely exceed a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, calling it a “code red for mankind,” while by decreasing a little the probability of the absolute worst climatic disasters.
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Over the past 60 years, Earth has been warmed by 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit due to the impact of man-made climate change.
Scientists say the number and intensity of weather and climate events will increase in the coming years due to the impacts of man-made climate change.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.