Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Ensuring Cities Are Prepared 1 Year After Superstorm Sandy
Press Release

RELEASE: Ensuring Cities Are Prepared 1 Year After Superstorm Sandy

Find a full list of products addressing the issues surrounding Superstorm Sandy and climate resiliency here.

Washington, D.C. — Today, a week before the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy—a catastrophic event that caused more than 150 deaths and $65 billion in damages and economic losses along the East Coast— making landfall in New Jersey, the Center for American Progress released two reports that promote actions to ensure that communities, families, and businesses are less vulnerable to extreme weather damages and health risks.

Storm-Ready Cities: How Resilience Is Good for Metro Areas and the Economy” by Cathleen Kelly and Arpita Bhattacharyya urges city, state, and federal leaders to adopt measures increasing cities’ resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. Very large and dense populations—partnered with weakening infrastructure and high poverty rates—make cities especially vulnerable to the increasing the frequency and severity of climate related extreme weather. This threatens the public health and safety of residents and can have devastating effects on the local economy.

“Cities face immense challenges, including flagging infrastructure and rising income inequality,” said Cathleen Kelly, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “These problems are more daunting for cities that face higher risks of heat waves, flooding, drought, and other climate change impacts.”

While many cities and the federal government are taking steps to prepare for more severe extreme weather, much more is needed to safeguard public health and economic prosperity in metro areas around the country. The report recommends that public officials take the following actions in order to tackle these challenges:

  • Increase infrastructure and community resilience in metro areas in ways that meet other priorities, such as improving cost-effectiveness and productivity of infrastructure; increasing economic growth, access to jobs and clean and reliable electricity; reducing air pollution; and improving quality of life in low-income areas by expanding public transit and green spaces.
  • Increase federal investments in resilience to save billions of dollars in disaster response.
  • Make resilience a core aspect of all federal infrastructure and disaster-recovery funding.
  • Give city leaders ready access to necessary climate change risk information.
  • Curb heat-trapping emissions in cities and nationally.

In “5 Assignments for the Task Force on Climate Preparedness,” Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, makes the following recommendations for the soon-to-be-appointed members of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness included in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:

  • Determine the annual cost of federal disaster relief by state.
  • Determine the cost of future community resilience needs.
  • Identify dedicated revenue sources for federal investments in community resilience.
  • Identify policies that address the needs of low-income communities.
  • Identify improvements to the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act that enhance community resilience.

“The Climate Preparedness Task Force must address these needs to ensure that governments can reduce threats to our lives and livelihood from extreme weather due to climate change,” said Weiss.

Read the analysis:

Find a full list of products addressing the issues surrounding Superstorm Sandy and climate resiliency here.

To speak with an expert on this topic, contact Anne Shoup at 202.481.7146 or [email protected].