Climate Change, Slow-Onset Disasters, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency [June 29, 2021] [open pdf - 781KB]
From the Document: "The United States is already experiencing [hyperlink] certain effects of climate change, including high temperature extremes and heavy precipitation events [hyperlink]. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, among many other bodies, expects [hyperlink] these trends to continue and intensify, likely resulting in more severe and frequent 'slowonset' [hyperlink] events (e.g., drought; sea level rise), compound disasters [hyperlink] (e.g., extreme rainfall combined with coastal flooding), and cascading [hyperlink] events (e.g., landslides following wildfires). Such events may not have clearly defined start or end dates, and cumulative damage may not be immediately apparent. Congress may consider how these events affect the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers federal disaster relief authorized under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [hyperlink] (Stafford Act, P.L. 93-288, as amended). Although FEMA does not have an explicit mission to address climate change, the agency is increasing its activities [hyperlink] related to nationwide adaptation to some of its effects [hyperlink], including extreme weather events. This Insight highlights issues FEMA may face when activating the Stafford Act for slow-onset events endemic to a changing climate. Slowonset disasters are not mentioned or defined in the Stafford Act, FEMA's regulations, or guidance, nor are they included in existing emergency or major disaster definitions."
CRS Insight, IN11696
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/