State Hazard Mitigation Plans and Climate Change: Rating the States

In accordance with federal law, all states must have an approved statewide hazard mitigation plan (SHMP) in order to receive federal disaster mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The 50-state survey considers to what extent and in what manner climate change related issues are incorporated into existing plans, with all states categorized and ranked. The SHMPs analyzed were all approved by FEMA during the period 2010 to 2012, with the exceptions of Indiana (the latest version available was from 2008), New Hampshire and Vermont (the 2013 draft versions were used).

The overall purpose of this survey was to determine to what extent climate change related issues are incorporated into existing SHMPs, with an emphasis on identifying which states have a more accurate and thorough discussion of the issue. This survey identifies those state plans that address climate change and climate-related issues in an accurate and progressive manner, and those that do not.

According to the report, the results of the survey indicate that coastal states are more likely to acknowledge climate change, possibly due in part to recent emphasis on and awareness of the relationship between climate change and sea level rise, coastal storms, and related hazards. Climate change is not a part of the discussion in land-locked states, which may point to a need for greater communication of how risks such as drought, floods, heat events, and non-coastal storms are affected by climate change.

In accordance with Section 322 of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. ยง5165), all States must have an approved statewide hazard mitigation plan in place in order to receive federal disaster mitigation funding from the FEMA. While FEMA acknowledges the implications of climate change for hazard mitigation, there is no requirement or mention of climate change in the FEMA rules that govern the review process for SHMPs. This research effort was intended to support the inclusion of climate change impacts in all SHMPs.

Publication Date: November 2013

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Matthew Babcock

Related Organizations:

  • Columbia University

Sectors:

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

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