Investing in Resilience To Combat Extreme Weather

As extreme weather events become more common across the United States, Congress must increase its investment in resilient infrastructure.

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idea_bulbThe United States experienced eight severe weather, flood, and drought events in 2014, each causing at least $1 billion in damage across 35 states. Overall, these disasters caused more than $19 billion in damage and took 65 human lives.

Building off of previous analysis, the Center for American Progress looked at disaster data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency,  and Aon Benfield over the past four years and found that:

  • There were 42 extreme weather events that each caused at least $1 billion in damage.
  • These extreme weather events caused 1,286 fatalities and $227 billion in economic losses across 44 states.
  • On average, there were 61 presidential major disaster declarations per year because of extreme weather events.

According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, extreme weather events will become more severe and frequent as the climate continues to warm. While no single episode can be easily connected to climate change, the IPCC concluded that warming temperatures “can lead to changes in the likelihood of the occurrence or strength of extreme weather and climate events such as extreme precipitation events or warm spells.” Notably, 2014 was globally the hottest year on record.

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