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Former FEMA chief: It’s not about climate change anymore, ‘it’s about climate adaptation’

Craig Fugate, a former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Thursday that the nation’s response to natural disasters and storms is no longer about debating climate change, “it’s about climate adaptation.” 

“It ain’t about climate change anymore, it’s about climate adaptation,” Fugate said on NBC’s “Today,” emphasizing the need to rebuild infrastructure in a way that mitigates storm damage in the future.

Fugate’s comments come after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast with severe flooding. Lawmakers are approving $7.85 billion in emergency funding for recovery efforts. 

But as the Harvey recovery continues, Hurricane Irma, one of the largest hurricanes in Atlantic history, is expected to make landfall on the heavily populated coast of South Florida.

“Obviously, we are going to need more money, or FEMA’s gonna need more money for Harvey, now with Irma, I think Congress is going to have to take some hard looks at how we fund disasters,” Fugate said.

Irma has already ravaged several small islands, causing significant damage on the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“We have to build for our future risk. Our past is not the best indicator of what these risks have been. We’ve seen it time and time again, we build it back, it gets destroyed. We’ve got to do better this time,” Fugate added.

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