Climate Disasters

Breaking the Cycle of Climate-Fueled Disasters

Since 2005, disasters in the United States have caused more than $1 trillion in economic losses, claimed more than 7,500 lives and cost taxpayers more than $450 billion in federal disaster assistance. Even with these massive investments, communities often wait months or years for federal aid to arrive.


The climate crisis will only exacerbate these trends of increasing risk and cost, slowing economic growth, increasing volatility, and depreciating the value of businesses and property in risky areas. These impacts are hitting low-income households, farmers, and traditionally marginalized communities hardest, driving a downward trend in livability and social resilience.

Our Plan To Reduce Climate Disaster Risks And Accelerate Recovery

Congress should confront the nation’s rising disaster risks with a unified, all-of-government approach that helps communities make smarter land use decisions; rewards use of risk-based building codes and standards for land use and development; and invests in resilience before disasters strike. Congress also must prioritize assistance to frontline communities and accelerate the pace of recovery so that communities rebuild stronger.

 

Buy down risk before disasters strike, when taxpayer dollars can go as far as possible, by increasing funding for pre-disaster mitigation; helping communities with voluntary, just, and planned transitions from the riskiest areas; advancing innovative revolving loan strategies for resilience project finance; investing in climate resilient small businesses; and restoring ecosystems that can reduce flood and wildfire risk.

Accelerate disaster recovery by permanently authorizing community disaster recovery programs to reduce delays and by increasing the role of insurance and innovative finance to provide rapid payout and to support resilient recovery from disasters.

Improve access to affordable, climate resilient housing by ensuring that federally funded construction and retrofits are resilient against flood, wildfire, and other climate risks and by prioritizing funding for hazard mitigation in frontline communities.

Increase private and local investment in resilience by reforming the tax code to provide incentives and by helping communities attract resilient economic development.

Reduce the threats of toxic releases in storms by establishing financial assurance requirements for industrial facilities and increasing federal funding to clean up and reuse contaminated properties.