When severe storms, hurricanes, and wildfires strike, state and local governments are often overwhelmed and need federal assistance to repair the damage. For the worst disasters, the president can declare an emergency or major disaster, unlocking federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to support these devastated communities.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund examined FEMA’s disaster assistance spending between 2005 and 2015 to determine the costs of the worst extreme weather events to taxpayers. Nationally, FEMA issued more than $67 billion in grants to assist communities and individuals recovering from extreme weather events that merited a presidential declaration of emergency or major disaster.
Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina have faced significant costs from this destruction and scientists predict that climate change will increase the severity and frequency of extreme weather events and wildfires. Severe weather events are already taking a physical and financial toll on these five states’ residents, and these costs will continue to rise if climate change continues unabated.
However, despite the dire need to reduce climate change’s threats to these states, a number of their elected officials deny the science of climate change while accepting millions of dollars from dirty energy interests over their careers.
Read the fact sheets for each state below to see just how much extreme weather has cost over the last 10 years.
Erin Auel is a Research Assistant with the Energy and Environment team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Julie Katsnelson is an intern with the Energy and Environment team at the Center and a student at the University of Michigan.