Taxpayers Outspend Private Insurers 3:1 on Climate Disruption Costs

| 6/7/2013 11:01:00 AM

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U.S. taxpayers paid nearly $100 billion responding to damages caused by last year’s extreme weather events associated with climate change, about $1,100 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council released on May 14.

By paying nearly $100 billion, taxpayers — through the federal government — spent more on climate change cleanup than on education or transportation, the analysis shows.

Further, the burden to pay for climate disruption has shifted away from private insurers and is falling more heavily on America’s taxpayers. This is occurring at a time when Congress continues to avoid taking action against climate change and instead has cut support to address its causes, the NRDC analysis shows.

“While Congress debates the federal budget, our government is spending more responding to extreme weather made worse by climate change than we are to educate our kids or take care of our bridges and roads,” said Dan Lashof, co-author of the report and director of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program. “In fact, this single-ticket expense now tops the list of non-defense discretionary federal spending.

“And taxpayers are shouldering more of the burden — they are spending three times more than private insurers to pay for recovery from climate damages. Fortunately, the government has tools it can use right now to address these climate risks — without waiting for Congress to act.”

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