Rebuild what is wrong with better math

Congress often demands that others do what they do not want done to themselves. For example, federal agencies must develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) that describes the impact of their actions on their physical, cultural, and human environment. Federal agencies prepare about 500 EISs each year.

But Congress does not want the same analysis of major laws. An example of this is the $ 1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) ​​bill in the Senate. The budget includes the largest federal investment of up to $ 555 billion to combat global climate change. It’s too late. As science has become increasingly concerned over the decades, Congress has done little to tackle global warming since the 1970s.

Before the House of Representatives passed the bill last month, the CBO directed that it review its impact on federal spending and receipts. The bill seems to pay for itself. The CBO analysis, however, was thinner than paper. The draft does not address what it will do for society, the environment, the economy and long-term federal spending.

For example, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, major weather and climate disasters in the United States killed 538 people in the first nine months of this year and cost more than $ 100 billion. This is the seventh year in a row that the United States has suffered $ 10 billion or more from natural disasters. That tendency will only get worse if we do not move on to clean energy and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Federal scientists warn that “with the ever-increasing rate of historical emissions, annual losses in some sectors of the economy are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the year – the gross domestic product of many U.S. states will increase.” Fourth National Climate Review.

According to the First Street Foundation, more than 14 million properties are at risk of flooding in the lower 48 states and the District of Columbia. Every year, more than 40 million people are at risk of flooding 1 percent of the river. As climate change progresses, they can expect their insurance costs to rise and their assets to decline. The effects of global warming on clean water resources, food production, heat waves and floods, few sectors of the economy and life in general remain unaffected.

Fighting climate change has many benefits. For example, the American Lung Association reports that more than four in 10 Americans still live in areas where vehicle and energy emissions are dangerous to breathe. Climate adaptation and renewable energy technologies create millions of jobs. Regional and local governments are the first line of defense against climate-related disasters. Build a better account and reduce budget pressures.

Since all countries contribute to climate change, it is difficult to determine the value of declining emissions. However, Congress could begin by using the Biden administration’s social costs to reduce the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The updated edition ends next month.

High risk exposure

The passage of congressional legislation is a responsible and long-awaited fiscal risk management. A.D. In 2013, the Office of Government Accountability (GAO) put climate change on the “high risk list” and suggested that the federal government better limit climate change risk mitigation. A.D. In 2019, the GAO warned that climate change was still a “financial threat to the federal government.” Last March, the GAO reported that there had been no improvement in risk mitigation. If congressional concerns about the federal budget continue to mount, they should be more concerned about future budget deficits.

All of these factors would have been evident if Congress had regularly presented and published a comprehensive analysis of the economic, social, and environmental consequences of each draft law, both direct and indirect.

We know that the law will benefit society, the economy and the treasury, according to estimates scattered by the White House and the House Budget Committee. Additional federal costs. Enough for now. The immediate priority is to get the proclamation approved as soon as possible so that the United States can begin a national investment in tackling and adapting to long-delayed climate change.

Once that is done, Congress must create the capacity for EISs to conduct regular general analysis of critical legislation, as required by government agencies. Without that information, neither he nor the American people can make an informed decision. The cost of not properly handling the crisis, especially in connection with climate change, can be very high.

William S. It’s Baker. He has served as Central Regional Director of the Department of Energy and Renewable Energy Technologies, as well as Special Assistant to the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Baker, too Director General of the President’s Climate Action Project; Founded in 2007, it is a non-partisan initiative with national leaders to develop recommendations on climate and energy policies for the White House and Senate and Senate committees. The project has nothing to do with the White House.


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