US Accountants Finally Realized Climate Change Is a “High Risk” to the Government's Fiscal Health

By Brian Merchant

There are a number of plausible scenarios that may have led the Government Accountability Office to finally recognize that global climate change poses a “high” level of risk to the nation’s fiscal health, after having failed to do so until 2013.

Perhaps the unusually strong frankenstorm Sandy smashed into the East Coast, costing the government $50 billion to clean up, and something clicked—this must be what all those scientists and economists mean when they talk about the future costs of climate change, the bureaucrats thought, frantically reshuffling their papers under fluorescent lights.

Perhaps it was upon viewing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual State of the Coast report, which may have reminded them that 52 percent of the country’s population lives in low-lying coastal areas, and that nine percent more will live in them by the end of the decade. That’s a lot of people, a governmental accountant may have considered. Sea levels are rising, after all, and those storms seem to impact those coastal areas above all—I imagine it’d be expensive to account for something that threatens the federally maintained transportation networks, federally subsidized electrical grid, and the federally insured homes millions of people rely upon.

And then there’s all that drought, wildfire, and flood stuff too. Shit. Well, in it goes, into the big books.

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