The High Cost of Doing Nothing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

As requested by a bipartisan pair of senators, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has studied and released a report on the total cost of natural disasters.

According to the GAO, the federal government has spent at least $350 billion on disasters over the past ten years. More importantly, the report specifically cited climate change as a contributing factor.

"Climate change impacts are already costing the federal government money, and these costs will likely increase over time as the climate continues to change," the report found. [...]

In addition to the $205 billion spent directly on disaster relief over the past decade, the government has spent $90 billion for crop and flood insurance, $34 billion for wildland fire management and $28 billion for repairs to federal facilities, according to the report.

The report says the government should take more preparations to deal with climate-related weather events, noting that previous GAO studies had found "the federal government had no comprehensive, strategic approach" to disaster resilience, nor did it have "strategic government-wide priorities related to climate change."

Yes, the government should develop a strategic approach to fighting and adapting to climate change, but that's never going to happen under Trump.

The Obama administration did develop a grant program under the Department and Housing and Urban Development that would help communities adapt and even relocate entirely if threatened by climate change, but the Trump regime has abandoned it. Small communities that already received grants in Louisiana and Alaska will be able to relocate thanks to the program, but no one else can count on it in the immediate future.

The great climate change bailout of 2050 will be epic.

  • muselet

    If almost anything else—other than a weapons system—cost the federal government $35 billion a year, largely in avoidable expenses, there would be no end to the congressional hearings and White House speechifying. It would be deemed The Worst Thing Ever! by politicians and pundits alike.

    But climate change? Doing something about that would mean lower profits for extraction industries, more hybrid and all-electric cars on the road, more efficient home appliances, expanded use of LED lighting, even *scary music sting* solar panels! Unpossible! Un-American!

    I fully expect the budget for the GAO to be cut by some multiple of the cost of producing this report.


  • Draxiar
    • Badgerite

      Bingo. Ding, ding ding, ding. We have a winner.
      Were the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community to be wrong, we would have gotten for our trouble all of the above ( see better world). If that consensus is right and we do nothing but continue on our present path of dependence on fossil fuels, we face disaster. Hmmm. Let me think. Disaster… better world. Disaster…..better world. Hmmm.
      I will go with “better world”.