Last week, the White House released a report that detailed the impact climate inaction could have on the federal budget.

The report — the first of its kind — states that climate change-related costs could reduce the gross domestic product by as much as 10% by the end of the century, according to NPR’s coverage of the topic.

Overall federal funding losses

At current trends, the federal budget could see an annual loss of “7.1%, or about $2 trillion in today’s dollars. For perspective, the Biden administration’s entire proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 is $5.8 trillion,” according to NPR.

Climate change causes physical and financial damages

Climate change poses a threat to communities at an increasing rate, the White House reports.

“Climate change threatens communities and sectors across the country, including through floods, drought, extreme heat, wildfires and hurricanes that affect the U.S. economy and the lives of everyday Americans.”

In recent years, damage costs due to natural disasters have increased at a rapid rate:

  • Estimated damages from droughts, extreme heat, wildfires, floods and hurricanes “have grown to about $120 billion a year over the last five years,” reported the White House.
  • Of the president’s budget for fiscal year 2023, $44.9 billion of the funds are dedicated to fighting the climate crisis, which is a 60% increase from FY 2021, the report states.
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According to the report, the 2023 fiscal year budget for climate change includes:

  • $15 billion: Clean energy efforts (development and deployment).
  • $7 billion: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • $3 billion: The transportation sector.
  • $5 billion: Mandatory funding for the Department of Transportation to support the transition to clean transportation sector.
  • $18 billion: Strengthening climate resilience and protecting communities from climate change damages.

Climate change-induced reasons are predicted to drive government spending even higher within the century.

  • Crop insurance premium subsidies are predicted to increase between $330 million and $2.1 billion annually.
  • Increased hurricanes could cause the coastal disaster response budget to increase between $22 billion and $94 billion annually by the end of the century.
  • Increased wildfires could increase federal wildland fire suppression expenses by between $1.55 billion and $9.6 billion annually.
  • “Over 12,195 individual federal buildings and structures could be inundated under 10 feet of sea-level rise, with total combined replacement cost of over $43.7 billion,” according to the White House report
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