On Tuesday, the Congressional Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, chaired by Florida Rep. Val Demings, held a virtual hearing to examine the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather, and the implications for homeland security.
This hearing was an opportunity for members to ask expert witnesses about the significant risks of climate change, and the actions the federal government, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, should take to address the challenges posed by climate change.
The hearing included a significant and thoughtful discussion of climate preparedness, and anyone who is interested in the subject should watch it in its entirety.
Science educator Bill Nye, known as The Science Guy, urged lawmakers to recognize recent examples of climate change and set regulations to reduce impacts.
"Airplanes are required to carry all kinds of safety equipment...these regulations are good. They keep us safe...when it comes to addressing climate change, regulations are essential."— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) June 8, 2021
-@BillNye #ClimateCrisis https://t.co/3w4Z4wMN1r
Climate change impacts are no longer a threat for a distant future, according to Alice C. Hill, a David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment, with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Last year, the U.S. suffered 22 separate extreme weather events costing over $22 billion, according to Ms. Hill. She said the country is not doing enough to safeguard the states and called for a comprehensive approach to address the issues.
Hill recommended improving risk communication to the public will help people and families plan ahead. This should include risk mapping to inform people of potential weather related threats from flooding and wildfires.
She said stronger building codes are needed in a changing climate. Only 65% of cities and towns have adopted modern building codes to account for climate risk. Every dollar spent in disaster resistant building codes equals a savings of $11 in damages.
Hill also discussed the link between climate change and migration, saying extreme weather due to climate change is a major factor driving immigrants to our southern border, creating climate refugees.
Curtis Brown with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, who co-founded the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management, explained how heat waves impact people of color more than other populations. Brown cited research showing how higher rates of death hit people living in poverty and suggested bold actions to help those at risk in marginalized communities.