Articles by Christopher Flavelle

Trump Administration Delay with Storm Mitigation Funds Frustrates States

The Trump administration is sitting on billions of dollars intended to help vulnerable cities and states prepare for extreme weather, prompting growing criticism from state officials worried about the next storm season. In February, following a string of severe natural …

Democrats’ Climate Change Concern Ebbs When Congress Faces Flood Insurance

A Congressional stalemate over flood insurance highlights the difficulty of enacting the type of reforms urged last week in a U.S. government report on climate change — even for Democrats, who embraced the report’s findings. The heavily indebted National Flood …

Research Finds Fire-Resistant Building Codes Do Not Raise Home Prices

Homes in wildfire-prone areas around the U.S. could be built to better withstand blazes without increasing the cost of construction, according to a new report. The research released Tuesday was sponsored in part by the insurance industry and marks the …

Solutions to Wildfires in Time of Climate Change Are Costly, Unpopular

California’s deadly wildfires have a straightforward solution, experts say: stop building homes in places that are likely to burn — and make homes that already exist in those areas a whole lot tougher. That approach, wildfire and climate policy experts …

Climate Groups Warn About Virginia Tax Cut for Homes in Flood-Prone Areas

A measure approved by Virginia voters this week to cut taxes on homes in flood-prone areas of the flood-prone commonwealth has climate experts warning that it might encourage people to remain in vulnerable areas – and could spread to other …

Critics Say Bond Rating Agencies Ignore Municipalities’ Climate Risk

Last fall, after a trio of deadly hurricanes, ratings companies warned vulnerable coastal cities to get ready for climate change — or face higher borrowing costs on the $3.9 trillion municipal bond market. Climate advocates cheered, hoping the prospect of …

Latest Storms May Finally Shift Focus to Disaster Mitigation by Local Communities

Hurricane Michael’s devastation could spur policymakers to better prepare vulnerable communities for the effects of climate change. The images of entire towns in Florida’s panhandle all but erased by storm surges, as well as accounts of bodies pulled from shattered …

FEMA Head ‘Ticked Off’ Over Cycle of Inadequate Storm Preparation, Insurance, Evacuations

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long angrily criticized the failure of citizens to heed evacuation warnings and leaders to better prepare for natural disasters such as Hurricane Michael. “It’s frustrating to us because we repeat this same cycle over …

FEMA Chief Under Scrutiny Over Use of Government Vehicles

A demand for documents by a key House Republican adds to the growing pressure on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s chief as he coordinates the government response to Hurricane Florence. On Monday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy sent Brock …

Florence Floods Cause Sewage, Coal Ash Spills

A Duke Energy Corp. landfill near Wilmington, North Carolina, failed under the assault of Tropical Storm Florence, spilling about 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash that can carry toxic mercury, arsenic and lead. Authorities said they would investigate whether the …