The proposal boiled down to just three paragraphs in the Federal Register: Would it be a good idea, the Federal Emergency Management Agency wondered, if Washington gave states a financial incentive to pass building codes, better protecting their residents against the effects of climate change?
That was in January. By March, the response from states was clear: No, it would not be a good idea. Not good at all.
Just as there is a political economy of fighting climate change, there turns out to be a political economy of adapting to it. And navigating it could be just as hard.
FEMA's proposal looked modest enough. Rather than continue to provide federal assistance once the president declares a disaster, the agency suggested making states responsible for an initial share of the costs -- in other words, a deductible. States could lower that deductible by taking basic steps to prepare for disasters, such as passing tougher (or any) building codes, establishing their own disaster funds, or buying private insurance on government buildings.