According to the GAO, the federal government’s primary financial watchdog, its “high risk” list currently includes 30 issues, covering concerns of efficiency, effectiveness or fraud, with a particular focus on defence and health systems. However, this year’s inclusion of the financial risk to the government posed by the effects of climate change has the possibility to outweigh much of the rest of the list combined.
“This is of great significance, and follows trends already taking place in the private sector and local government,” Keith Gaby, communications director for climate change with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an advocacy group, told IPS. “As usual, this issue has bubbled up from the local level, and now the federal government has put its imprimatur on it.”
In part, the federal government’s financial exposure is so great because Washington directly oversees such a massive swath of land – some 650 million acres, nearly 30 percent of the entire country. That’s a huge amount of infrastructure – including that meant to safeguard human communities – that could be endangered by unforeseen or dramatic changes to weather systems.In the long run, global warming will cost us dearly.