Climate change costing taxpayers plenty

April 10, 2013

Done your tax returns yet? Here’s something to think about as you finish your 1040.

Flood insurance. Fire suppression. Crop insurance. Hurricanes.  Turns out American taxpayers are already footing huge bills for climate change impacts.

Here are just a few of the costs we’ll be paying in federal and state taxes:

  • FOOD: Due to the ongoing drought and other extreme weather impacts, federal crop insurance losses have tripled in the past three years to $16 billion in payouts for 2012, or about $51 a year for every man, woman and child in America.
  • FIRES: In 2012, a record wildfire year, the Forest Service overspent its available fire suppression budget by $400 million, as it has almost every year for the last 20 years, transferring millions of dollars away from other land management projects.
  • FLOODS: Thanks largely to Superstorm Sandy, 2012 flood insurance payments are projected to reach $12 billion – that’s $25 for every American.
  • HURRICANES: When private insurers pull out of locations with too much storm risk, state governments end up picking up the tab for subsidized insurance loss claims.

Below are some stark illustrations of the steep tab we’re picking up this Tax Day. Thanks to Ceres for generating these charts.