Their Congressional representatives may dispute it, call it a hoax even, but the U.S. government is doling out big money in relief for those hit by climate change impacts.
According to environmental corporate watchdog, Ceres, crop insurance payouts for last year's drought cost every American man, woman and child $51.
“Climate change is fundamentally changing the United States, and
American taxpayers are paying a huge price for it,” said Ceres president
Mindy Lubber. “The cost of withered crops, submerged streets, hurricane
damage and wildfires eventually comes out of our own wallets. Crop
insurance losses from last year’s drought alone cost every person in
Ceres compiled data showing rising costs to three federal programs,
as well as growing financial exposure for state taxpayers in
hurricane-prone states. Among the findings:
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is staggering under massive
losses after Hurricane Sandy, which triggered more than 115,000 new
claims in just the first two weeks after the storm. Although NFIP
collects about $3.5 billion a year in premiums, the amount of claims the
agency has paid out has exceeded the amount of premiums collected in
four of the past eight years. Last year's losses in Sandy's wake are
expected to approach $8 billion.
“That’s $25 for every American, and that figure doesn’t even include the
$50 billion of disaster relief that Congress approved in January for
Sandy-impacted states,” Lubber said.
Extreme weather, influenced by climate change, creates other taxpayer
risks. State governments are increasingly liable for hurricane damages
as private insurers pull out, leaving state taxpayers subsidizing
insurance loss claims for homes and businesses.
The state insurer in Florida, for example, is carrying the burden of
more than one million homeowners’ policies — a financial catastrophe
just waiting for state taxpayers the next time a major hurricane hits
Florida. State government-loss exposure in hurricane-prone states (such
as Florida, Texas and Massachusetts) now exceeds $885 billion, a 16-fold
jump from 1990.
“As Americans pay their taxes on April 15, let’s consider what our
political leaders — in Washington and our state capitals — are doing to
address climate change,” Lubber added. “Let's hope, for our wallets’
sakes, they're tackling the issue head-on.”
Americans recoil at the notion of big government and the imagined straight-to-hell evils of socialism except when they want or need it and then lofty principle flies straight out the window. Insurers, the private sector, wants no part of these losses and that's when the people of the devastated areas, mainly the rightwing south, expect the government to spread their losses to the people elsewhere. Hypocritical? As Sarah Palin would say, "you betcha."