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.