By Ian Sloan 10/25/17

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report stating that the cleanup costs following natural disasters will increase greatly over time if climate change is not recognized and addressed. The report comes after hurricanes have ravaged portions of Texas and Puerto Rico, as well as massive wildfires raging throughout the western United States.

The report, released earlier this week, calls on President Trump and his administration to “craft appropriate federal responses” to the risks posed by climate change. One estimate by the GAO projects that rising temperatures could cause losses of up to $150 billion in labor productivity by 2099, while changes in some crop yields could cost as much as $53 billion. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who initially requested the report, stated that the U.S. “simply cannot afford the billions of dollars in additional funding that’s going to be needed if we do not take into account the consequences of climate change.”

This information comes as the Senate prepares to vote this week on a $36.5 billion disaster-relief package to fund hurricane relief efforts and wildfire recovery efforts in the West. The United States government has already spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and fire events. The information provided by the GAO comes in contrast with the administration’s stance on domestic climate change as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced an end to the President Obama-era clean power plan earlier this month.