The future disaster environment will not resemble that of the past, or even what is experienced today. To build long-term resilience, communities must understand their future risk — and have the resources and capacity to reduce that risk. Currently, a community’s disaster risk is typically based on past disaster activity. Due to the changing climate, this historical data is no longer indicative of future conditions. The availability of, access to, and understanding of future conditions data and modeling within FEMA must be expanded. This will mean leveraging the advanced climate forecasting capabilities of federal agencies to inform the agency’s understanding of risk. FEMA will collaborate with these agencies to ensure the information is provided to communities in plain language and digestible formats.
FEMA must also ensure that future conditions data, tools, and guidance are incorporated into localized risk assessment and planning processes. For example, we know that coastal communities will face the increasing risk of sealevel rise, and those in deserts and some urban areas will experience increased impacts of heat and drought — while the whole nation will see an increase in severe storms.
Even within the same geographic area, different communities will face differing levels of risk due to their unique demographic, economic, and physical characteristics. It is important for FEMA and the emergency management community to develop capacity to access and interpret accurate information about this localized risk, specifically in light of future conditions.
Partnerships will be a key tool in increasing access to future conditions data. Collaboration across all parts of communities, at all levels, will be necessary to develop comprehensive information about local infrastructure, land use, building code standards, and other factors to enable better risk-informed decision making. This information will help communities better understand their own risks and identify the most appropriate resilience actions. Data tools, guidance, and public messaging should be developed to ensure highly technical information is explained in easily understood, relatable ways. This will enable individuals and communities to better understand technical information to inform decision making.
Climate Adaptation in Action
FEMA is updating the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) risk rating
methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. This methodology leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology — enabling FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarily sound, equitable and easier to understand, and that better reflect a property’s flood risk.