The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) restored climate change considerations to its strategic planning after former President Donald Trump’s administration’s controversial decision not to include it.
The agency, which focuses on disaster preparedness, posted a new strategic plan for the years 2022 through 2026.
“We must recognize that we are facing a climate crisis and educate ourselves and the nation about the impacts our changing climate pose to the field of emergency management,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell wrote in a letter accompanying the plan.
“We must integrate planning for future conditions, move away from incremental mitigation measures, and focus on large projects that protect infrastructure and community systems,” Criswell wrote.
Previously, the agency’s plan for 2018 through 2022, released during the Trump administration, lacked a single mention of climate change or its impact.
The Trump administration’s plan was widely criticized at the time of its release for removing climate change from its strategic plan despite record disaster damages.
“This is a glaring omission from an agency that deals with anticipating and responding to weather extremes driven in part by a changing climate,” Umair Irfan, writing for Vox, wrote in 2018, noting that “Dropping climate change from FEMA’s strategic plan is just the latest part of the Trump administration’s long pattern of erasing climate change as a public policy issue across the federal government.”
As president, Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord, a coalition of nations that committed to working together to stop global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. He also directed other agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of the Interior, to remove mentions of climate change from their websites and was widely criticized for relaxing rules on greenhouse gas emissions. Before he was in office, Trump made the erroneous claim that climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.