Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Sunday that climate change is the “crisis of our generation” after Hurricane Ida tore through the country and left at least 66 people dead nationwide.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, Criswell said the frequency and intensity of recent weather events point to the “impacts of climate change” and that the federal government needs to start investing in reducing the impacts of those events.
“This storm in particular, it intensified so rapidly … in the Gulf, that emergency managers and emergency responders had an even shorter time to warn the public and help get them out of harm’s way,” she said. “This storm and some of the other weather events that we’ve seen, they’re just intensifying very rapidly and dropping a large amount of rain and tornadoes.”
“This is the crisis of our generation, these impacts we’re seeing from climate change, and we have to act now to try to protect against the future risks we’re going to face,” she continued. “I think this is going to be our new normal. We saw intense weather events in 2017. Last year was a record number of hurricanes and a record wildfire season. The U.N. had just put out their climate report and they said that this is the climate crisis that we’re facing and it’s only going to continue to get worse.”
Wallace pressed Criswell on how climate change can be responsible for all weather extremes, including record heat and record cold, as well as drought and flooding, which seems to be “contradictory.”
“You know, I don’t know how climate impacts it specifically,” Criswell responded. “What I do know is that we are seeing more frequent storms, more intense storms.”
Criswell praised President Biden for authorizing $5 billion in “resilience funding” last month for states and local communities to increase preparedness in advance of natural disasters. She also touted the bipartisan $1T infrastructure plan, the first phase of the president’s infrastructure plan, that she said would help rebuild infrastructure to better withstand extreme weather conditions.
“My understanding is there are parts of that plan that are going to also contribute and add additional funding to the mitigation efforts,” she said. “But the other part of that plan is helping to strengthen our infrastructure in general. We have a very old infrastructure across this country and we need to work on rebuilding that, building it back stronger so it can be more resilient to future threats.”