Rewarding Communities that Build for the Future: A Resilience Policy Score

One step to start encouraging local governments to pay more attention to disaster costs is a community resilience policy score. This could be used by insurers to offer more competitive rates in higher scoring areas, by rating agencies in assessing bond ratings for hazard-prone locations, or by FEMA in allocating disaster aid. Read More

Incentivizing Local Governments to Manage Disaster Risk More Effectively

To effectively reduce federal exposure to disaster losses and simultaneously encourage local governments to better manage their risk and invest more in cost-effective risk reduction measures, FEMA should widely eliminate assistance for the repair and reconstruction of public buildings, exempting small and financially challenged communities that would not otherwise recover.Read More

The Role of Natural Disaster Insurance in Recovery and Risk Reduction

As climate change continues to influence extreme events, the role of insurance in adapting to these changes is becoming an increasingly important topic. In theory, insurance has a critical role to play in promoting disaster resilience. However, empirical papers cleanly identifying the relationships between insurance and recovery and mitigation outcomes is surprisingly limited.Read More

Does the Coastal Barrier Resources Act Provide a Policy Template to Address Wildfire Risk?

The CBRA prohibits federal financial assistance related to new development in designated coastal barrier areas, forcing private actors to bear the full costs of development. Could a similar approach be used to address escalating wildfire costs? Could Congress designate a “High Wildfire Hazard Resources System” to eliminate federal incentives to develop those lands?Read More

Must Floodplain Buyouts Decrease Tax Revenue?

One frequent challenge is that local government officials are reluctant to offer post-disaster housing buyout programs because buyouts can result in lost property tax revenue: if residents relocate into other jurisdictions and properties are kept as vacant lots, tax revenue falls.  While the potential loss of tax revenue necessarily plays a major role in local level decisions, buyout programs can be designed such that they minimize potential losses or even increase local revenues by coupling the buyouts to strong land-use planning strategies that enhance the community.Read More

Regional Conservation as a Climate Adaptation Tool

St. Louis’ Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) District oversees planning and execution of a network of trails and open spaces designed to link rivers, parks, and communities throughout the St. Louis region. Although not established with climate adaptation as an objective, this approach to conservation, often targeted at riparian corridors, has created natural infrastructure that lowers flood damages. This model that could be adopted in other regions as a way to fund green infrastructure for building climate resiliency.Read More

How Sea Level Rise Simulations Can Improve Climate Adaptation

Sea level rise threatens coastal communities around the world, but it is unclear if local governments and homeowners will be willing to invest in flood protection measures before it is too late. In a recent study, Co-Director Bob Meyer and colleagues explore the likely effects of sea level rise on South Florida’s adaptation efforts through an interactive online simulation that accelerates 348 South Florida homeowners thirty-five years into the future so that they can ‘live’ the effects of sea level rise. Read More

The Cape Town Water Crisis: What Does the Future Hold?

SiriusXM Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School recently had a segment on the Cape Town water crisis.  Host Don Loney of the Knowledge@Wharton show discussed the current situation in Cape Town and what it tells us about the future of water in a changing climate with guests Carolyn Kousky of the Wharton Risk Center, Kevin Winter of the University of Cape Town, and Martine Visser of the University of Cape Town.Read More