Enlarge / A recent drought in Texas, which led to agricultural losses, has been tied to our warming planet. (credit: Bob Nichols, USDA)
The US Government Accountability Office is a nonpartisan organization that performs analysis and investigations for the Senate and House. Recently, two senators—Maine Republican Susan Collins and Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell—asked it to look into what has become a contentious political issue: the government’s response to climate change.

The report that resulted suggests that the US is already spending money to respond to climate change, and it will likely spend more as the Earth continues to warm.

But it suggests that the US has no plans for figuring out how best to minimize these costs.
It’s a message that’s unlikely to go over well with either the current administration or the Republican majority in either house of Congress.
Climate and the economy
The report focuses on the economic costs of climate change and how those costs end up being covered by the federal government.
It concludes that the feds faced a bill of $350 billion due to extreme weather and fires, including more than $200 billion for aid and recovery, $90 billion for payouts on crop and flood insurance, and nearly $30 billion for repair to federal facilities. US government scientists expect that extreme events are likely to increase in a warming climate, and the GAO sees no reason to doubt that conclusion, accepting a figure of between $12 and $35 billion of added annual expenses by mid-century.

For comparison, the annual budget of NASA is $18 billion.
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