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The latest long-term strategic plans for the period 2018-22 outlined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Fema has excluded climate change from its priorities. It will respond to all types of disasters except climate change. This is an indication that the Strategic Plan has been drawn up to maintain parity with the thinking of the Trump administration.

According to Texas Monthly, the last strategic plan of FEMA was in 2014 during the second term of former President Barack Obama. In it, climate change was given prominence and was mentioned multiple times. It was clearly spelled out that climate change was a priority and must be addressed since it will lead to significant changes in all walks of life.

The omission of climate change is strange

The United States witnessed the destruction unleashed by three hurricanes in quick succession in 2017 and the devastation of nor’easters along the East Coast this year. In all these cases, FEMA had to get involved in relief and rescue activities but, its 2018–22 Strategic Plan makes no mention of burning issues like climate change, sea level rise, or global warming. The plan does indicate that disaster costs will show an upward trend which can be attributed to factors like the risk of natural hazards, outdated infrastructure etcetera.

The decision has been criticized by Andrew Dessler who is a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. In his opinion, the world is witnessing events like sea level rise coupled with heat waves. Hence, those who formulate future strategies should assign priorities to these factors and not ignore them.

Climate change cries for attention

Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria struck the United States in 2017 and wreaked havoc on large scale. Many of those affected are still struggling to come to terms with reality as in Puerto Rico. FEMA had to stretch its resources to the limit to extend relief to the people and restore the damaged infrastructure. Hence, the exclusion of a topic like climate change from the 2018–22 Strategic Plan is strange.

Texas faced the fury of Hurricane Harvey in August-September. Scientists feel the intensity of the hurricane was high because of climate change. A study in December has revealed that a combination of higher temperatures and humidity was responsible for the excess rainfall over the Texas Gulf Coast.

President Donald Trump has his own ideas on the subject. He has already expressed his intention of withdrawing from the 2015 Paris accord. The main objective of this accord is to avoid dependence on fossil fuels which create the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Of course, automobile companies in the United States have already embarked on plans to build electric cars to replace the ones powered by fossil fuels.