Press Release

U.S Rep. Castor: 2019 GAO High-Risk List Once Again Establishes Climate Crisis Threatens All Americans

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Washington, March 6, 2019 | comments
Washington – Today the independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 2019 High-Risk List – once again and since 2013, the GAO has included the federal government’s fiscal exposure to climate change risks. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14), Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, released the following statement:
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Washington – Today the independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 2019 High-Risk List – once again and since 2013, the GAO has included the federal government’s fiscal exposure to climate change risks.  View the report.  U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14), Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, released the following statement:

“The 2019 GAO High-Risk List once again establishes that the climate crisis threatens all Americans and the expansive infrastructure of the federal government.

“Climate change-fueled extreme weather events increase the threat to Americans across the country from the coastline to the heartland.  Since 2005, the total federal funding for disaster assistance has grown and is approaching half-trillion dollars – $430 billion, including help for our neighbors recovering from devastating hurricanes, flooding, wildfires and other catastrophic losses.  When disaster strikes, the federal government steps in to help communities recover and help families and businesses get back on their feet.  The outlays and risks are growing.  Policymakers need to understand that the ‘high-risk’ designation is a call to action and the costs of inaction continue to escalate.

“Despite the clear dangers of climate change, President Trump and his administration are rolling back common-sense measures that reduce carbon pollution and help our country prepare for the impacts of climate change.  President Trump’s actions to gut the Clean Power Plan and his attempts to undermine fuel economy standards for cars threatens public health and efforts to tackle the climate crisis.  In particular, the GAO noted that negative factors raising the risk include the rollback of the federal flood risk management standard and halting guidance that directs agencies to consider climate change as part of their environmental calculations for certain federal projects.

“In contrast, Democrats want to protect communities from the ravages of the climate crisis, reduce the costs that all of us are paying now and create jobs.

“The GAO report is just the latest analysis from the country’s top climate experts that demonstrates the cost of doing nothing is too high and the need to act urgently – and ambitiously – to solve the climate crisis.”

The GAO High-Risk List is issued biennially.  In part, this year’s report states: “Limiting the federal government’s fiscal exposure to climate change requires significant attention because the federal government has revoked prior policies that had partially addressed this high-risk area and has not implemented several of our recommendations that could help reduce federal fiscal exposure … The federal government needs a cohesive strategic approach with strong leadership and the authority to manage climate change risks across the entire range of federal activities.”

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