US should take steps to manage costly climate risks: report

24 October 2017 - 21:01 By afp.com
A burnt tree stands amidst the destroyed Journey's End Mobile Home Park during the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 9, 2017.
A burnt tree stands amidst the destroyed Journey's End Mobile Home Park during the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 9, 2017.
Image: REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The US government should manage risks posed by climate change that could cost it tens of billions of dollars more per year by mid-century, a congressional report published Tuesday said.

But such steps seem in doubt under President Donald Trump, who has dismissed climate change as a "hoax," moved to pull the US out of a global climate agreement and rolled back environmental regulations.

The executive "should use information on the potential economic effects of climate change to help identify significant climate risks facing the federal government and craft appropriate federal responses," the report from the independent Government Accountability Office said.

"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," it said.

The report cited figures from a November 2016 government assessment, which found that "recurring costs that the federal government incurred as a result of climate change" could increase by between $12 to $35 billion per year by 2050, and $34 to $112 billion toward the century's end.

The United States has spent more than $350 billion as a result of "extreme weather and fire events" over the past decade, the report says, while a statement from the senators who requested it said the economic cost of diasters from 2017 alone are "expected to exceed $300 billion."

"Our government cannot afford to spend more than $300 billion each year in response to severe weather events," said Senator Susan Collins, one of the lawmakers who requested the report.


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