Creating a Federal Resilience Fund to Protect Americans from Future Extreme Weather

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As the peak of hurricane season draws closer, it is a good time to discuss an overlooked but critical element of President Barack Obama’s recently announced Climate Action Plan. One of the three major parts of the climate plan will increase communities’ resilience to extreme weather. This portion includes valuable proposals “to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country … by building stronger and safer communities and infrastructure.” The plan will marshal existing federal resources to help communities become more resilient to destructive extreme weather events, including storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires.

The president’s resilience plan is beneficial but insufficient to protect Americans’ lives, homes, and businesses, as well as reduce federal disaster-relief spending. The plan does not specifically seek a federal revenue stream to fund resilience projects, though it encourages federal agencies to find resources in their existing—but shrinking, thanks to sequestration—budgets to fund these important tasks.

Additional federal resources for resilience are essential to accomplish these vital goals and ensure that all of our communities are prepared to deal with a more volatile climate in the future. We urge the federal government to estimate the cost of future resilience needs and identify and adopt additional revenue sources to pay for them as quickly as possible.

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