Say that the sea level rises due to climate change and an area in the US becomes uninhabitable. Perhaps an island is now underwater or a coast line creeps inward. This would displace a number of people who live there, and those in poverty would be unlikely to have the resources to move.

Does the US have a plan to provide any sort of aid, financial or otherwise, to help such displaced people in poverty?

I am asking about if the US has a contingency plan in place for those displaced due to climate change, and do not want to argue whether climate change is actually occurring.

  • 2
    Lot of "what if" that are far into the future, if they happen at all.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 23, 2017 at 20:28
  • 3
    Have you checked the IPCC projections? 25-82 cm rise by 2100. I think most islands can handle a rise of less than a yard without trouble, while a coast line change of a few meters won't affect many people either.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 24, 2017 at 0:40
  • 4
    Is there a reason you think they should have? Apr 24, 2017 at 15:31
  • 1
    @DavidBlomstrom Please give an example of such a place.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 25, 2017 at 12:55
  • 3
    @MSalters Maldives are not USA - this is about USA islands.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 26, 2017 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


The answer turns out to be yes and no. Plans are, in general, not addressed at people in poverty, but at specific situations.

Furthermore, plans do not specifically address "climate change", seeing as that is a somewhat political term, but address specific changes to the landscape. Whether or not these changes are caused by climate change is basically left up to the reader.

So, in short, the answer to your question, specifically, is:

No, there are no plans addressed at people in poverty displaced by climate change.

There are of course enough plans addressed at sites that have environmental or landscape-related problems.

For example: https://floridadep.gov/water/beaches

Last but not least, there are some emergency plans addressed at climate change:


  • USACE also has plans for climate-change. If you read through the USACE's plans and site, you'll see they are concerned less with the political implications of Climate Change (the why) as they are with the actual results of a trend of warmer Arctic and Antarctic weather (climate change) causing rising water levels (the what).
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 18, 2019 at 17:28
  • I have this annoying feeling that I generally like your answer, but think that it needs expanding. FEMA already subsidises insurance of buildings on floodplains, so in case of making some areas clearly uninhabitable as requested in the question, at least those people would be fine as they would cash out the insurance.
    – Shadow1024
    Oct 19, 2019 at 5:53

No. Why? because this is not something that the US is likely to have to face during the current elected term of the officials. Our elected officials have shown that they are unwilling to tackle problems that are likely to be faced in the future where they will not have to face election. Instead they will wait until the problem has occurred and then point fingers and hope that someone else deals with the problem so they can claim credit.

Second, there is no real way to predict actual needs. The government has a bad habit of drastically under or over estimating the needs of a catastrophe. The Army Corps of Engineers has a plan for dealing with pretty much any increase in water levels in the near term (4-8 years) that are not the result of an unexpected storm or event. That is as close as it comes to this type of preparation in the US by the government.


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