Topic 7: Scenarios for Identifying Cross-Cutting Opportunities

Please share your thoughts on the following scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Pent Up Private Capital Generating Next Wave of Development: Leading economists believe that improving conditions in the U.S. economy indicate a likely acceleration in U.S. economic growth in 2013 and beyond. Substantial new housing developments and infrastructure investments present a tremendous opportunity to move the country’s built environment toward greater risk resiliency and climate changer readiness. This creates opportunities for developing and enforcing building codes and standards, new land use requirements in coastal areas, green design with hazard mitigation overlap, etc.
  • Scenario 2: Communities Moving Ahead of FEMA in Planning and Implementing Disaster Resiliency and Climate Change Adaptation: Communities around the country are moving forward with ideas for achieving disaster and climate resiliency. But often when these communities look to FEMA for support, our programs are unable to meet the community’s needs because the community models do not fit with FEMA’s current structure. This presents an opportunity for FEMA and other agencies to become more flexible and allow communities to lead with their own ideas while government provides support and leverage for community innovation.
  • Scenario 3: A Changing Climate and Failing Infrastructure: Risks posed or exacerbated by a changing climate will likely affect our core emergency management missions in new and complex ways. A recent study conducted by the NFIP found that by 2100, Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) may increase on average by about 45% in riverine areas. In populated areas of most interest to the NFIP, about 30 percent of this increase may be attributable to increased runoff caused by expansion of impervious areas resulting from population growth and development, while the remaining 70 percent represents the influence of climate change. By 2100, coastal SFHAs may increase anywhere from 0 to 55 percent, depending on the types of shore‐protection measures that may be adopted during the period. A changing climate becomes particularly challenging when considered in combination with other drivers such as increased urban populations, population migrations to high‐risk coastal areas, and aging critical infrastructure. Currently, infrastructure in the United States is nearing the end of its life‐cycle and will require significant investment to prevent a crisis. In particular, transportation, communication, energy, and health care infrastructure are aging and in danger of failing. In addition, the failure of infrastructure due to age—like the collapse of a bridge or a dam bursting—can in itself pose a threat. Opportunities to address these threats include more active planning and modeling across sectors, risk management partnerships, etc.
  • Scenario 4: The New Environment of Governmental Fiscal Austerity: Fiscal austerity at the Federal, State and local government levels is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. This translates to a reduced availability of grants and other assistance to achieve mitigation and climate change adaptation. At the same time, flood insurance rates are increasing for unmitigated properties and the number and severity of events are causing greater impacts, leading to greater demand for mitigation. As a result, we need to use available assistance more effectively. Potential approaches include supporting lower cost, medium impact mitigation solutions, such as utility elevations vs. entire home elevations, providing insurance rate credits for these types of activities, etc.

Topic 7: Scenarios for Identifying Cross-Cutting Opportunities


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