President Joe Biden’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is putting climate front and center in its new four-year strategic planning document, after the Trump administration erased all mention of climate from its previous plan.
Addressing climate resilience is one of three main goals outlined in FEMA’s plan for 2022-2026, which directs how it will respond to disasters and spend federal funds. The document was shared first with CNN.
The new plan is not only a reversal from that of the Trump administration, but puts even more emphasis on the climate crisis than the plans produced by the Obama administration.
“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,” Biden’s FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said in the plan.
The plan emphasizes understanding how climate is changing and exacerbating natural disasters – more frequent flooding, wetter hurricanes and increasingly destructive wildfires – and it also underscores how the agency will try to more equitably distribute funding to historically underserved communities.
“The intersection of the severe impacts of climate change and the reality of inequalities that exist in communities before disasters strikes is what we’re aggressively addressing at FEMA,” Criswell told CNN in a statement.
The new document focuses on three key areas: a focus on equity in emergency management response and diversifying the agency’s workforce, bolstering climate resilience around the country and strengthening its emergency management workforce.
“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing emergency managers today—and it will continue to shape the next several decades,” the plan reads. According to the document, the agency will fuse climate science into its policy, programs, partnerships, field operations and training, according to the report.
The report also stressed FEMA plans to help communities adapt to a changing climate. FEMA will use most of the $6.8 billion it received from the bipartisan infrastructure bill to help communities deal with natural disasters, including flooding.