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Articles by Staff Writer Jake Bittle

Jake Bittle is a staff writer at Grist who covers climate impacts and adaptation. His book about climate migration, "The Great Displacement," is published by Simon & Schuster.

Featured Article

Though the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is best known for disaster response, it has emerged as perhaps the federal government’s most robust resource for preparing the country for the effects of a warming world. The agency has pumped billions of dollars into climate adaptation projects over the past few years, helping states and cities relocate flood-prone homes and harden infrastructure against wildfires. But the agency’s infrastructure programs have drawn criticism for disproportionately funneling money toward larger, wealthier, and whiter communities, leaving smaller and poorer jurisdictions without the money they need to adapt to worsening climate-driven disasters.

There are two big reasons for this funding gap. The first is that FEMA doles out adaptation money through competitive grant programs, which means that a local government needs significant funding and staff to put together an application that stands a chance of attracting federal dollars. The second is that federal law requires the agency to fund only those adaptation projects that pass what it calls a “benefit-cost analysis.... Read more

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