Good question. And depending on which side of the fence you’re on regarding this important topic, the answer could be a resounding yes, or it could be flat-out no. Either way, the latest report, the National Climate Assessment (November 2018), from the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), is worthy of review and consideration.

Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), like previous versions, focuses on climate change impacts, risks and adaptations occurring in the U.S. It contains supporting evidence from 16 national-level topic chapters (e.g., water, oceans, energy, and human health); ten regional chapters; and two chapters that focus on societal responses to climate change. Among the report’s many contributors was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

According to the latest National Climate Assessment (NCA), climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the U.S. These present growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth. Moreover, in the absence of significant global mitigation action and regional adaptation efforts, rising temperatures, sea level rise, and changes in extreme events are expected to increasingly disrupt and damage critical infrastructure and property, labor productivity, and the vitality of our communities.

As such, many states, counties, cities and tribal governments are considering climate change as a potential risk outlined in their Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMPs).

Hazard mitigation plans, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated damage. In fact, the National Institute of Building Sciences now estimates that for every dollar invested in mitigation saves six dollars in prevented damages. Plus, having a FEMA-approved plan makes your state, county, city or tribal government eligible to receive certain funding through the Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. These precious dollars can go a long way toward funding mitigation projects such as safe rooms, sirens, levees, and improvements to critical infrastructure, among others.

Regardless of your stance on the topic of climate change, or where you are in the process of developing or updating your HMP, you’ll most likely find the National Climate Assessment (November 2018) an interesting read. At BOLDplanning, we encourage you to check it out for yourself, and draw your own conclusions.

In the meantime, we urge you to keep your HMP current. These plans require updating and FEMA approval every five years. If now isn’t the right time for you to integrate climate change into your HMP, you (like so many others) may want to consider it later on down the road.