The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
'Climate Change' Removed From FEMA's Strategic Plan
But it appears the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency that responds to hurricanes, flooding and wildfires, is ignoring a critical factor that exacerbates these natural disasters: climate change.
On Thursday, FEMA released its Strategic Plan for the next four years, which replaces the Obama-era version that made repeat mentions of climate change.
The new document does not mention the terms "climate change," "sea level rise" or even "extreme weather." The only phrasing that comes close is "rising natural hazard risk" and "pre-disaster mitigation," without mentioning what drives those risks.
The plan states: "Disaster costs are expected to continue to increase due to rising natural hazard risk, decaying critical infrastructure, and economic pressures that limit investments in risk resilience. As good stewards of taxpayer dollars, FEMA must ensure that our programs are fiscally sound. Additionally, we will consider new pathways to long-term disaster risk reduction, including increased investments in pre-disaster mitigation."
FEMA's Strategic Plan for 2018-2022
In comparison, the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan from President Barack Obama's FEMA highlighted the necessity to adapt to future climate-influenced risks:
"Scientific evidence indicates that the climate is changing and significant economic, social, and environmental consequences can be expected as a result. A changing climate is already resulting in quantifiable changes to the risks communities face, showing that future risks are not the same as those faced in the past. State, tribal, territorial, and local demands for climate-enabled risk management information and tools are expected to rise and evolve as the need to adapt to climate change increases. The emergency management community will need to adapt appropriately to these changing risks as they strengthen their risk-management programs."
FEMAs Strategic Plan for 2014-2018
Responding to the report, FEMA Public Affairs Director William Booher told NPR, "It is evident that this strategic plan fully incorporates future risks from all hazards regardless of cause. Building upon the foundation established by FEMA's previous two Strategic Plans, this plan commits the agency, and the nation, to taking proactive steps to increasing pre-disaster investments in preparedness and mitigation."
"The term climate change has become such a political hot button that, I think, it keeps us from having a real dialogue," he told the publication last summer.
Long also told CNN in September, "Regardless of what causes disasters, it's our job within the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to manage the consequences."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.
Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.
Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.
Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.
East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.