US Not Prepared for Peril from Global Warming
GAO Report Warns of Significant Financial Risks for Insurers Due to Climate Change
WASHINGTON (April 19, 2007) – A government report released today highlights the federal flood and crop insurance program’s absolute failure to account for increased peril from global warming risk, according to policy experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The report was prepared by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and is called Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant (GAO-07-285). It was commissioned by the chairs of the Senate Committee for Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
“We commend Senators Lieberman and Collins for exposing the inadequacies of federal insurance programs to protect taxpayers from catastrophic losses due to global warming,” David Tuft, campaign director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Climate Center said. “Not only has our federal government thus far failed to take action to prevent the worst consequences of unchecked global warming pollution, but it has failed fundamentally to take reasonable precautions against global warming-induced storms and drought, and the high costs that will be borne by families, businesses and ultimately, taxpayers.”
The report studies two federal programs - the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) - and finds: “two major federal programs which, as a consequence of both future climate change and substantial growth in exposure, may see their losses grow by many billions of dollars in the coming decades” according to the report.
“We can no longer afford to let political considerations blind us to the realities of rising global temperatures,” Tuft said. “As we saw with the response to Hurricane Katrina, our government is woefully ill-prepared to protect its citizens against catastrophic losses. Now this report has blown the whistle on how ill-prepared we are as a nation for further destruction. The key is that there is still time to reduce the threat of global warming, and avoid the worst consequences.”