Spiralling climate costs must trigger US action

1 May 2013

NEW YORK: Responding to weather-related disasters such as Superstorm Sandy is costing the US government far more than previously estimated, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.

In providing relief for Americans affected by hurricanes, droughts and floods, the US has spent US$136 billion since 2011, which is the equivalent of US$400 per household.

The report, ‘Disastrous Spending: Federal disaster-relief expenditures rise amid more extreme weather’, highlights the importance of pre-disaster adaptation, stating that for every US$1 that is spent on resilience measures, US$4 is saved in recovery costs.

It is hoped that the huge cost of inaction will trigger climate action from the US government, such as emissions reduction policies, clean energy incentives and leadership at global climate talks.

Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group said: "What's most striking is that half of the disaster-related spending was not budgeted - showing that the government continues to underestimate the costs of extreme weather.

“In a time of increasing urbanization, economic growth, and climate change, the time has come for US policymakers to recognize that major weather disasters are no longer the exception, but the rule." 

Read the report.

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Image by Robert Couse-Baker 

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