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The Cost of Climate Change

While cli­mate change and its impacts on the weath­er can be chal­leng­ing to our qual­i­ty of life and our com­fort here in Texas (heat, flood­ing, drought), it’s also affect­ing our finances.

Accord­ing to the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion (NOAA), Texas was affect­ed by eight weath­er events in 2021 that pro­duced more than $1 bil­lion in dam­ages each. That’s a seri­ous cost to Tex­ans, and extreme weath­er relat­ed costs are expect­ed to con­tin­ue to rise.

Weath­er chal­lenges have also height­ened crop dam­ages, and expen­sive insur­ance pay­outs, in Texas. The Envi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group’s data­base on crop insur­ance found that pay­outs to farm­ers from drought con­di­tions increased 400% from 1995 to 2020. They also found that the top 10 pay­outs for drought by coun­ty all occurred in our state.

While it’s true that farm­ers pay pre­mi­ums to be eli­gi­ble for these pay­outs, the true cost is not cov­ered by the cost of the pre­mi­ums and tax­pay­ers are often left to fund addi­tion­al payouts.

Per­haps it’s time that fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tives con­sid­er the very real costs our state, and there­fore us as tax­pay­ers, incur due to cli­mate chal­lenges. It’s time to con­sid­er the impact of mit­i­ga­tion efforts, and not just respond to dis­as­ters as they occur.

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