Increases in the concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases from activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation have caused a measurable increase in global temperatures. As greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, further changes in the Earth’s climate are expected. These changes may impact the location, frequency, and occurrence of natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, wildfires, floods, and winter storms. Thus, the historical data that are typically the basis of hazard identification and risk assessment may not accurately forecast future events. Consequently, we need to begin to evaluate and better understand how climate change could affect the identification and selection of disaster mitigation strategies, the types of preparedness activities that jurisdictions undertake, the execution of response operations, and the implementation of long-term recovery strategies.
This report is one of several reports from CNA examining the impact of climate change on U.S. policy. This particular report focuses on the impact of climate change on comprehensive emergency management and preparedness policy. It seeks to outline key climate change issues for consideration from an emergency management perspective and begin a conversation on potential implications for the near-, medium-, and long-terms. It lays the foundation for future dialogue among emergency management practitioners from all levels of government to explore policy solutions in greater depth. The scientific foundation for much of the discussion in this report comes from the recently published report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program—Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Energy, Water, and Climate