As climate change leads to more frequent and destructive natural disasters and threatens crop yields, bridges and other infrastructure, the federal government faces big financial risks that it is poorly positioned to address, auditors said recently, report Lisa Rein and Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post. These risks, along with the threat of gaps in critical weather forecasting satellites that could last years, topped a biennial list of federal programs at high risk of waste, fraud, abuse or financial loss. “The federal government is terribly exposed to this change,” Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general and director of the Government Accountability Office, said in announcing why climate change made his agency’s high-risk list. “The government needs a much more strategic and centralized approach.” The government owns vast swaths of land, runs flood and crop insurance programs with millions of policyholders and regularly pours billions of dollars into emergency aid. But it has no system to address these costs as global warming escalates them, the GAO said in a report on the high-risk list. Furthermore, a White House task force “has no mechanisms for making or enforcing important decisions and priorities.’’
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Climate change could burn a hole in the government’s finances. As climate change leads to more frequent and destructive natural disasters and threatens crop yields and infrastructure, the federal government faces big financial risks that it is poorly positioned to address, federal auditors said Thursday. Washington Post