Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Fires, Smoke, Floods, Droughts, Storms, Heat: America Needs a Climate Resilience Strategy

| May 02, 2021

As wildfire season approaches, the Western United States remains gripped by a megadrought

Last summer, one of us was locked inside their home in the Seattle area, not because of the pandemic, but because the air was full of smoke from fires raging hundreds of miles away in California. The other was peering through an orange afternoon haze because of those same fires — thousands of miles away in Maine.

Our country has been battered by the advancing impacts of climate change — fires, smoke, floods, droughts, storms and heat. These impacts are affecting our health, our homes, our jobs, our communities and our natural heritage. And they are expensive — climate impacts in the U.S. cost our economy nearly $100 billion in 2020 — almost double the previous year's costs.

In the face of this national crisis, we need to change the way we do business in every facet of the economy, with an eye toward reducing risk, increasing resilience and ensuring equity and justice.

We have lost time by failing to mobilize at the scale the climate crisis requires. Truth be told, we are not just four years behind where we need to be, we're decades behind. It is imperative that we mobilize as we would for a national crisis....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hansen, Lara and Joel Clement.“Fires, Smoke, Floods, Droughts, Storms, Heat: America Needs a Climate Resilience Strategy.” The Hill, May 2, 2021.