It is not just hurricanes and wildfires that are wreaking havoc in the USA, several other weather-related phenomena are costing the United States of America billions of dollars. There is a heavy price being exacted by the frequently occurring storms, floods, and droughts, which are all being brought about by human-induced climate change. The huge economic damage is set to increase as climate change becomes more intense with increasing global warming. The coming decades may see a rise in the frequency of these extreme weather conditions. These are the findings of a US non-partisan federal body.
The watchdog says that climate change already costs the US taxpayers billions of dollars every year and that these costs are expected to rise. The Government Accountability Office report says that the US federal government had spent over $350 billion over a period of ten years for disaster relief and assistance programs, together with losses from floods as well as crop insurance. Experts aver that the figures could rise manifold as the GAO tally does not include the huge damage that happened due to the several hurricanes and the raging California wildfires that hit the USA this year. It is being expected that the cumulative damage might make 2017 the most expensive year in the country’s history in terms of disaster control and mitigation.
Environmental costs set to soar to $35 billion a year
The GAO report says that the costs will only continue to increase in the future and that it could reach a budget of a whopping $35 billion a year by 2050. The report points out that the US federal government does not effectively plan for such recurring costs. It just classifies the financial damage due to climate-related happenings as ‘high risk.’
‘The federal government has not undertaken strategic government-wide planning to manage climate risks by using information on the potential economic effects of climate change to identify significant risks and craft appropriate federal responses,’ the study says. ‘By using such information, the federal government could take the initial step in establishing government-wide priorities to manage such risks.’
The GAO conducted the study after a request from Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the Democrat on the US Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
‘This nonpartisan GAO report Senator Cantwell and I requested contains astonishing numbers about the consequences of climate change for our economy and for the federal budget in particular,’ says Collins. ‘In Maine, our economy is inextricably linked to the environment. We are experiencing a real change in the sea life, which has serious implications for the livelihoods of many people across our state, including those who work in our iconic lobster industry.’
Deep research behind GAO report on damage by climate change and global warming
The researchers behind the report went through 30 government as well as academic studies that examine the regional and national impact of climate change. The researchers interviewed 28 experts who are familiar with the limitations as well as the strengths of the studies. The reports make future projections of climate change impact in order to estimate the likely costs.
The study points out that the financial repercussion of climate change and affiliated events could, in all likelihood, differ widely across regions. The Southeast of America faces increased risk due to its coastal nature and which could be hit by storms as well as rising sea levels. As far as the Midwest and the Great Plains are concerned, they are prone to reduced crop yields, adds the GAO study. Meanwhile, the western part of the country could witness increased wildfires, drought, and heat waves.
Although advanced copies of the GAO report were given to the White House as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, no official comments were forthcoming for inclusion.
President Donald Trump is pulling USA out of Paris climate accord 2015
In June, US President Donald Trump had announced that he will pull out the United States of America from the treaty. President Trump argues that the treaty puts the USA at a disadvantageous position with respect to other countries. Shortly after the announcement, there has been a growing chorus against the decision of Trump. In fact, criticism of President Trump’s climate change policy is growing every second.
195 countries have already signed the Paris climate agreement
With Nicaragua deciding to join the agreement, this effectively leaves out only two countries now from the purview of the Paris Agreement: World’s biggest economy USA and war-ravaged Syria. About 195 countries have joined the Paris agreement that came into existence in 2015. The treaty proposes measures to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prevent environmental disasters such as global warming and climate change. The treaty seeks to bring countries on one platform so that it can stop global temperatures from increasing by more than two degrees over the next fifty years.
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