October 24, 2017

GAO reports on the cost of ignoring climate change

LA Times - The Trump administration’s reluctance to confront climate change threatens to create a massive burden on taxpayers, as a lack of planning by federal agencies leaves the government ill-equipped to deal with the fallout from rising temperatures, according to independent congressional investigators.

The report  from the Government Accountability Office presents a bleak picture in which the economic costs of climate change spiral ever further upward in the coming decades. While the report finds that coordination among federal agencies in confronting climate change has long been inadequate, it now comes at a time when the White House is making an unprecedented retreat on environmental protection.

.. The extreme weather events of the past decade that scientists believe were exacerbated by climate change added more than $350 billion in costs to taxpayers, according to the report, a huge drain on the budget as funds were diverted to cover more disaster relief, crop and flood insurance, firefighting costs, and infrastructure and public lands repairs. Those demands threaten to increase by $12 billion to $35 billion each year by the middle of the century, it said. By the end of the century they could go up each year by as much as $28 billion in today’s dollars, a crushing cost for taxpayers.

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