Since 2011 the federal government has spent $136 billion dollars on disaster relief for floods, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wild fires caused or made worse because of climate change. That amounts to a cost of $400 a year to every American family. This is contributing to our national debt.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that number is going to keep on increasing in the years ahead unless the American people force their elected officials to do something about greenhouse gasses that are causing these violent and frequent natural disasters
This is just the amount of taxpayer money that the federal government has spent since 211. It does not include the taxpayer money state and local governments .have spent on the same storms. Nor does it include the money insurance policyholders across the nation have paid in the form of additional premiums. Worse yet, it does not include the money the victims have lost, or the losses small business have suffered.
It does not include other indirect money taxpayers shell out die to these storms. For instance, it does not include things like emergency food stamps for victims or the IRS emergency disaster funds the author of the report said.
A report was released at the end of April that tallied federal appropriation for disaster relief in the last 2 years. What is shocking is that no one in Washington was tracking how much these disasters are costing the federal government. The authors of the study conducted by Center for American Progress had to pore over all the appropriations bills and disaster-relief supplemental that Congress had passed between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2013 to make an estimate.
“If we don’t even know how much natural disasters are costing us, then Congress is going to keep under-budgeting for disaster relief and recovery,” Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress, who co-authored the study with Jackie Weidman told the Washington Post. “And lawmakers will end up doing deficit spending to pay for it” — typically through emergency “supplemental” bills that are passed apart from the regular budget process.
The Department of Homeland Security, which includes FEMA, spent $554 million dollars of the $136 billion. The Department of Agriculture spent $364 million on 19 disaster programs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development had $164 million in expenditures, and the Transportation Department rounded out the top five agencies with $147 million. No federal agency was spared costs due to disasters.
Perhaps if the Congress invested 10% of that amount into green energy, many of these disasters would be avoided.
Taxpayers should get used to spending money on disasters. The climate news is getting worse due to inaction by Congress. As the report indicated the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, determined that the United States experienced the second-highest amount of extreme weather on record in 2012. The previous high was 2011.
The National Climate Assessment draft conducted by the federal multiagency U.S. Global Change Research program released in January 2013 determined that some extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and there is new and stronger evidence that many of these increases are related to human activities. Human-induced climate change has already increased the frequency and intensity of some extremes, it found.
A joint U.S. and Canadian commission is working to deal with the historical low water levels in the Great Lakes. They are considering building gates to reduce the flow out of the massive lakes to stop the water levels from dropping further. Lana Pollack, head of the U.S. delegation, said “The public really needs to understand what we’re doing to our Great Lakes by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and creating climate change.”
And, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on April 25 that Atlantic coastal sea surface temperatures from North Carolina to Maine reached a record high of 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit in 2012. This was the highest jump on record. Warm seas melt the ice cap and cause violent storms to intensify.
What will it take until Americans force Congress to act? Will disaster cost need to double? Triple?
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