(TNS) - State lawmakers across the country are calling for huge investments to mitigate the effects of wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, droughts and other natural disasters made more devastating and frequent by climate change.
Following the hottest decade on record, which saw record-breaking wildfires in the West, extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, a years-long drought in California, and severe flooding in the Midwest, legislators in many states say it's long past time to treat such events as the new normal — and invest accordingly.
"We're going to see more and more of these impacts as the years go on," said California state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica). "We either invest in efforts on the ground right now or we pay a lot more down the line."
The federal government is looking ahead as well. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is operating a $16-billion program to help coastal states prepare for natural disasters, a shift from the typical funding model of providing money after disasters have happened.
Even states whose leaders don't publicly acknowledge the existence of climate change, such as Texas and South Carolina, have applied for federal dollars citing "changing coastal conditions" or "unpredictability," the New York Times reported.