The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical relationship between the federal and state governments’ response to nationwide crisis. More than anything else, the ability of state leaders to respond ably and nimbly to the specific challenges of their jurisdictions has come to the fore and probably reoriented the federal/state relationship for years to come. The lessons we learn from the mobilization in response to the COVID disaster should be applied as we prepare for another disaster that is putting increasing demands on state and federal resources: climate change.
With states and the federal government all having essential roles to fulfill in the response to national disasters, an effective federal-state partnership should be at the heart of a nationwide climate strategy. This partnership should have many components. In this policy brief, we focus on one critical component that can and should be moved on quickly as part of any federal program to address climate change: the expansion of federal/state grant programs that support state governments in climate change assessment, planning, programs, and information exchange. This conversation is particularly apt as the nation considers what types of public investment will help spur the economy into recovery from impact of the COVID pandemic.