Examples of Potential Economic Effects of Climate Change in the U.S. by 2100. Graphic: GAO

By Mythili Sampathkumar
24 October 2017

NEW YORK (The Independent) – An independent US government agency has said natural disasters have cost the country $350 billion in the last decade and that it is time for Donald Trump’s administration to address climate change before it starts costing the country more.

The nonpartisan auditing agency Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued the report that said the US has spent that amount just in responding to extreme weather events.

This includes relief money for the devastation caused by hurricanes and wildfires, both of which the country has seen in the last few months.

The report, which took two years to compile, was requested by Washington state Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins.

Ms Cantwell summed up the report to the New York Times as: “basically telling us that this is costing us a lot of money. … We need to understand that as stewards of the taxpayer that climate is a fiscal issue, and the fact that it’s having this big a fiscal impact on our federal budget needs to be dealt with.”

Much of the report states that climate change will impact various parts of the country with drought, low crop yields, road damage, increased wildfires, increased energy demands, and coastal infrastructure damage - all deemed by GAO as “examples of potential economic effects of climate change”. […]

Ms Collins told the newspaper that “we simply cannot afford the billions of dollars in additional funding that’s going to be needed if we do not take into account the consequences of climate change.” [more]

US government agency issues climate change warning as report finds natural disasters cost America $350bn


24 October 2017 (GAO) – Climate-related impacts, such as coastal property damage, have already cost the federal government billions of dollars, and these costs will likely rise in the future. We found that information on the economic effects of climate change is developing and imprecise, but it can convey insights into the nation's regions and sectors that could be most affected.

As an initial step in establishing government-wide priorities to manage climate risks, we recommended that the Executive Office of the President use information on economic effects to help identify significant climate risks and craft appropriate federal responses.

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Alfredo Gómez
(202) 512-3841
gomezj@gao.gov

Oliver M. Richard
(202) 512-2700
richardo@gao.gov

Office of Public Affairs
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CLIMATE CHANGE: Information on Potential Economic Effects Could Help Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Fiscal Exposure

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