WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2020 hurricane season, which starts June 1 and could devastate communities already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, should spur federal and state leaders to invest in natural climate solutions that could make communities more resilient and put millions of American back to work.
“The devastating impacts of climate-fueled hurricanes, storms and floods are undeniable and only expected to intensify. With the 2020 hurricane season upon us, now is the time for our leaders to act on climate and invest in resilience projects,” said Jessie Ritter, director of water resources and coastal policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “Investments in natural solutions, like restored wetlands and beaches, can protect lives and homes, create jobs, and ensure communities will not be re-victimized by this year’s hurricanes and floods.”
A recent study released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has led some to fear the worst for this season’s storms — underscoring the urgency of investments in natural solutions to improve community resilience.
The NOAA and University of Wisconsin-Madison study reviewed satellite data from nearly four decades to determine that tropical cyclones were 8 percent more likely each decade to intensify into major storms of Category 3 or above. As carbon dioxide emissions continue and the planet continues to warm, it is likely that this trend will continue.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Natural Climate Solutions platform recommends federal policies to cut emissions while supporting American jobs and restoring the natural environment and vital wildlife habitat. These solutions include establishing living shorelines, investing in ecologically appropriate reforestation and forest resilience, reclaiming abandoned mines, and supporting the use of cover crops on working farm lands. By prioritizing investments in ecosystem restoration and land reclamation, Congress could accelerate our national economic recovery in the face of the current health crisis, while making a sizable down-payment on protecting communities from climate-fueled storms, floods, and fires and moving us closer to a net-zero emission future.
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