Budget Issues: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures Through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather, Statement of Alfredo Gomez, Director Natural Resources and Environment, Testimony Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Certain types of extreme weather events have become more frequent or intense according to the United States Global Change Research Program, including prolonged periods of heat, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. While it is not possible to link any individual weather event to climate change, the impacts of these events affect many sectors of our economy, including the budgets of federal, state, and local governments. GAO [Government Accountability Office] focuses particular attention on government operations it identifies as posing a 'high risk' to the American taxpayer and, in February 2013, added to its High Risk List the area Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks. GAO's past work has identified a variety of fiscal exposures--responsibilities, programs, and activities that may explicitly or implicitly expose the federal government to future spending. This testimony is based on reports GAO issued from August 2007 to May 2014, and discusses (1) federal fiscal exposures resulting from climate-related and extreme weather impacts on critical infrastructure and federal lands, and (2) how improved federal technical assistance to all levels of government can help reduce climate-related fiscal exposures. GAO is not making new recommendations but has made numerous recommendations in prior reports on this topic, which are in varying states of implementation by the Executive Office of the President and federal agencies."

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