RELEASE: States with the Most Federal Disaster Aid Sent Climate-Science Deniers to Congress

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress released an analysis showing a state-by-state breakdown of the nearly $50 billion spent by the federal government on disaster relief in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. This is the first-ever estimate of each state’s receipt of federal disaster funds during that time period.

“The huge expenditure of federal disaster aid to states reflects the growing threat posed by climate-related extreme weather events,” said Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at CAP, and co-author of the report. “It’s ironic that the states that received the most federal money sent 47 climate deniers to Congress—nearly one for every $1 billion in federal disaster relief during these two fiscal years.”

The analysis also found that the 10 states that received the most federal recovery aid in FY 2011 and 2012 elected 47 climate-science deniers to the Senate and the House. A majority of the senators from these top 10 recipient states voted against granting federal emergency aid to New Jersey and New York after Superstorm Sandy in FY 2013.

The federal government should take the following steps to help states prepare for future extreme weather events:

  • Produce annual estimates of the total federal disaster expenditures nationally and by state to ensure adequate funds for disaster recovery.
  • Ensure that future federal budgets and spending bills include adequate funds to assist states with disaster recovery.
  • End budget sequestration to ensure that funds for disaster-relief and -recovery efforts are not further reduced by across-the-board spending cuts.
  • Invest more federal funds in communities’ efforts to become more resilient to extreme weather.
  • Significantly reduce greenhouse gas pollution, including implementing President Barack Obama’s recently announced Climate Action Plan.

In 2011 and 2012, there were 25 severe storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires that each caused more than $1 billion in economic damages, with a total price tag of $188 billion. Climate scientists warn that climate change could increase the frequency and ferocity of storms, and such extreme weather could become the “new normal” after decades of relative climate stability.

Read the full analysis: States of Denial: States with the Most Federal Disaster Aid Sent Climate-Science Deniers to Congress by Daniel J. Weiss, Jackie Weidman, and Stephanie Pinkalla

For more information, contact Anne Shoup at or 202.481.7146.