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U.S. Unprepared to Face Costs of Climate Change, GAO Says

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Georgia Gustin Oct 25 2017 See full Inside Climate News article here

The auditing arm of Congress says the costs of climate change are likely to soar in the decades ahead, and it is urging the federal government to get a better grip on the risks to the economy and to the federal budget.

The Government Accountability Office, in a report issued on Tuesday, cited a range of research concluding that the costs of worsening droughts, floods, wildfires, heat waves and storms will run into hundreds of billions of dollars and threaten many parts of the economy, while hitting some regions particularly hard.

But so far, it said, too little is being done to understand and defend against the dangers.

“Even with the magnitude of these disaster recovery costs, the federal government does not have government-wide strategic planning efforts in place to help set clear priorities for managing significant climate risks before they become federal fiscal exposures,” the report says.

Already, the report noted, direct costs to the federal government for expenses like firefighting, flood insurance and payments for lost crops have come to about $350 billion in the past decade. (The figures don’t include tens of billions yet to be paid for the latest season of storms and fires; and the costs inflicted across the whole economy are much bigger than those reflected in the federal budget.)…

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