Wednesday, May 1, 2013

US report links rise in disaster relief spending to climate change

Canadian Underwriter: There is a need to build community resiliency and awareness in light of the apparent link between climate change and the rise in disaster relief spending in the United States, concludes the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress (CAP).

“As extreme weather events due to climate change increase in frequency and/or ferocity, it is critical to get an accurate account of how much disaster relief costs the government and taxpayers, and to plan for the future by building community resiliency,” notes a statement from CAP, an independent, nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans.

CAP reports that beyond Superstorm Sandy – which marks its six-month anniversary this week – the U.S. had 24 floods, storms, droughts, heat waves and wildfires that each caused at least $1 billion in damages in 2011 and 2012. Combined, these extreme weather events were responsible for 1,107 fatalities and as much as $188 billion in economic damages, the center adds.

An analysis conducted by CAP found that the U.S. federal government spent $136 billion for disaster relief and recovery from 2011 to 2013, representing almost $400 per home per year, notes a statement from CAP.

“As climate change accelerates, so will federal spending on disaster relief and recovery, which will ultimately be paid for by taxpayers,” notes the report released yesterday, Disastrous Spending: Federal Disaster-Relief Expenditures Rise Amid More Extreme Weather.

“Currently, public officials lack complete knowledge about annual federal spending on disaster relief and recovery — a major omission at a time when scientists expect that extreme weather will likely increase in frequency and/or severity due to climate change,” notes the CAP statement....

The Brooklyn waterfront during Hurricane Sandy, shot by lookcatalog, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr,  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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