Auditor General DePasquale: State’s Unfocused Efforts on Climate Change Crisis Risk Lives, Drive Costs to Taxpayers, Economy

News release from the Office of the PA Auditor General

Proactively addressing infrastructure needs would create new jobs

HARRISBURG (Nov. 13, 2019) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said Pennsylvania must proactively plan for the changing climate, a problem that already threatens public safety and drives significant new costs for taxpayers.

“The longer we fail to act, the greater the risks to our environment, our economy and our future,” DePasquale said. “Climate change is a challenge that also presents an opportunity: by acting and investing now, we can not only save lives but also protect our economy and create jobs along the way.”

According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, made up of 13 federal agencies, Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization. A major report issued by the program late last year details threats to public health and safety from extreme heat and flooding; concerns about severe weather impacts on aging power, water, sewer and transportation systems; and the impact of altered ecosystems on rural communities, farming, forestry and tourism.

DePasquale released a special report, “Climate Crisis: The Rising Cost of Inaction,” which noted that severe weather is already costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year and that state government needs to do more to mitigate future impacts.

“My team and I documented at least $261 million in climate-related costs to Pennsylvania in 2018 alone in this report,” DePasquale said. “Half of that amount, $125.7 million, was in infrastructure damage statewide caused by record-breaking floods and landslides.”…

Read more and download the special report at the Office of the PA Auditor General.

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