We’ve all seen the climate fueled disaster headlines: floods, wildfires, draughts, and more. This week, world leaders head to another round of international climate talks, and a key area of disagreement will again be the debt historic polluters (like the US) owe to those hit first and worst by climate change.
But before they fly off to Dubai, there’s something US officials can and should do to respond to the climate crisis right here at home.
In 2023, the U.S. set a new record for the number of disasters costing more than $1 billion. So far, disasters have cost the US more than $57.6 billion, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), not to mention 253 lives. Meanwhile, climate change is fueling a meltdown in private and homeowners insurance – making the housing crisis worse on top of climate chaos and uncertainty.
But when it comes to climate chaos, the federal agency dedicated to responding to such disasters is short on money and woefully unprepared. Sign now to tell Congress and the Biden Administration the climate crisis requires an overhaul of federal disaster relief.
We’ve told you before how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could do more to not just repair from climate disasters, but to build back better. And we’ve highlighted specific actions – for example rebuilding Puerto Rico’s grid with solar and local, democratically controlled renewable energy – that the Biden Administration can take.
Now, we need Congress to also make this a top priority. And with disaster relief expected to play a big role in spending bills over the next few weeks and months, there’s actually a chance they could do the right thing. But getting it right, not just paying the bill, is important. Adjusting disaster policies, like consolidating disaster relief programs and making decarbonization a fundamental element of disaster recovery and response would not only protect American lives and the economy, it would build trillions in new infrastructure and create billions of good, green jobs.
The climate crisis is here–we must have a response in place that will protect the American people while we continue to combat the crisis. Sign the petition: We need a reformed disaster relief system for declaring natural disasters and distributing federal aid.