Testimony to the House of Representatives Committee on Rules’ Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process for the Hearing: Using Budget Principles to Prepare for Future Pandemics and Other Disasters Testimony Submitted January 16, 2022 By: Jeff Schlegelmilch, MPH, MBA Thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee today. In my role leading the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Climate School, as well as through other positions, I have dedicated my career to fostering the impact of disaster research in the fields of policy and practice. As everyone is well aware, the challenges we face from disasters are increasing in both severity and frequency. This is driven in part by human-caused climate change, as well as aging infrastructure, and a world that is growing smaller and more connected, virtually and physically. We are now entering an era in which disasters are the norm, and overlapping disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires during a pandemic are transpiring. As we struggle with this evolving reality, our disaster readiness
- Climate Change And Disasters
- Vulnerable Populations
- Systems Readiness
- Disaster Communications
The weather has always been unpredictable. And extreme events are even harder to predict. They are by their nature, rare, and with the environmental changes occurring, even historical trends may not be as useful in forecasting risk.
Climate Change as a Human Factor Climate change is defined as change in global or regional climate patterns, which may include increases and decreases in temperature as well as changes in severe weather events.
The consequences of climate events are not borne equally. Local populations cope with drought in the arid Sahel much differently than those adapting to the same event in southern California. In their destructive path, human-caused climate changes and disasters, from ongoing drought to unpredictable floods, hit the poor the hardest – physically, economically, and socially. These are sentiments increasingly recognized in the global community, and reiterated by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the opening of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference when he spoke about the unequal impact of climate change in the developing world . Globally and in the U.S., individuals that are already vulnerable are likely to suffer disproportionately as a result of the changing climate. The Burden of Poor Nations Climate research is continuously reaffirming that the most vulnerable states