Extreme weather, climate change costing taxpayers billions

Image: Puerto Rico Faces Extensive Damage After Hurricane Maria

Kids bike in an area without grid power or running water about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Mario Tama / Getty Images

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.”

The government has taken some steps to address climate risks, the report notes, but President Donald Trump signed

an executive order in March to rescind some of the planning efforts, a move that “created uncertainty about whether other planning efforts would continue or take their place.”

The report acknowledges that its conclusions are imprecise and incomplete, since it requires linking complicated climate and economic models, but the GAO is known for being conservative in its estimates, especially on controversial issues.

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