Prepared by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patty Murray, a new report has found that costs from hurricane damage in the U.S. are expected to increase 39 percent in the coming decades. Although 1.2 million people currently live in areas at risk for significant loss from hurricanes, the CBO report estimates that approximately 10 million people will be at risk by the year 2075.
According to a new CBO report titled “Potential Increases in Hurricane Damage in the United States: Implications for the Federal Budget,” expected annual hurricane damage currently amounts to $28 billion, with the federal government covering roughly $18 billion. By 2075, that figure is expected to reach $39 billion in today’s economy with roughly 45 percent of that increase attributable to climate change and 55 percent to coastal development.
“Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating harm. Extreme weather disasters like hurricanes will devastate communities and cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars,” Sanders asserted. “When it comes to addressing climate change, the most expensive option is to do nothing at all. We have a financial and moral obligation to combat climate change. We must aggressively transition away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”
In the CBO’s estimation, less than 0.4 percent of the U.S. population, or about 1.2 million people, currently live in counties where expected hurricane damage per capita is greater than 5 percent of the county’s average per capita income. By 2075, the number of people living in areas at risk for significant loss from hurricanes is expected to increase up to 2.1 percent of the population, or roughly 10 million people.
“This report echoes what we heard in the 2014 Budget Committee hearing on climate change: if we want to be responsible about tackling our long-term fiscal challenges – we need to take the impacts of climate change seriously,” Murray stated. “For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we need to act now to avoid lasting, irreversible damage to our economy, our environment, and our country’s future.”
Instead of waiting around for another Hurricane Katrina or FEMA disaster, Sanders and Murray have called for a transition into cleaner, alternate energy while treating the environment with a modicum of respect and decency. In a recent press release, Sanders reminded the American people that hurricane season began on Wednesday.