Science

United States government should manage climate risks as costs soar: GAO report

United States government should manage climate risks as costs soar: GAO report”

Congress is expected to pass a $36.5 billion hurricane relief bill this week to assist Puerto Rico and other storm-ravaged locations in the US, pushing federal spending on weather-related disasters over $50 billion in 2017. Over the last decade, "extreme weather and fire events have cost the federal government over $350 billion", the GAO says, citing data from the Office of Management and Budget.

Collins says simply spending billions on recovery efforts from stronger storms is not an adequate strategy.

Literally the GAO's only recommendation in the face of devastating climate impacts that Trump and the GOP are endeavoring to worsen and speed up is "The appropriate entities within the Executive Office of the President... should use information on the potential economic effects of climate change to help identify significant climate risks facing the federal government and craft appropriate federal responses".

U.S. federal government has directly spent $350 billion since 2007 due to climate change, according to the Government Accountability Office. The question is what President Donald Trump might do with the information.

Among the report's most notable findings is that "the economic effects of climate change across USA sectors suggested that potential economic effects could be significant and unevenly distributed across sectors and regions". The findings, which are based on a review of 30 studies and interviews with 26 experts, provide further support for the stunning leaked final draft study by scientists from 13 other federal agencies, which we reported on back in August.

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The GAO conducted it research between 2015 and this year at the request of Sens. Cantwell is the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, whose jurisdiction includes major federal land and wildfire programs, along with fossil fuel production on federal land and offshore.

"Our government can not afford to spend more than $300 billion each year in response to severe weather events that are connected to warming waters, which produce stronger hurricanes", said Maine Senator Collins. Ms. Cantwell said that The Government Accountability Office is primarily convincing us that this is becoming an expensive affair.

"We can not ignore the impact of climate change on our public health, our environment, and our economy", said Collins.

Trevor Houser, a partner at the Rhodium Group, which led the American Climate Prospectus study, told the Times the GAO's estimated costs were perhaps too conservative, and echoed the report's call to action. "It needs to be actively managed by the federal government".



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