We’re seeing more news seemingly every week about the climate-fueled extreme weather that’s affecting every region of the country, from stronger storms and increased flooding to longer droughts, more intense wildfires and record-breaking heat waves. These extreme weather events are devastating our communities and costing businesses and taxpayers money. Thankfully, President Obama and many local businesses are taking action to combat climate change.
In Colorado, the combination of warmer weather and recent rains resulted in the run-off of melting snow, which led the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings and advisories for over a dozen counties. El Paso, Texas experienced a record-breaking temperature of 107 degrees, and the city declared a heat emergency. Interestingly, the Associated Press also conducted an analysis of the National Climatic Data Center’s (NCDC) temperature trends, and found that the Northeast and the Southwest are heating up much faster than other parts of the country.
Extreme weather events aren’t just becoming more frequent and severe, they’re becoming more costly too. According to Center for American Progress analysis of the federal spending by various agencies, between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2013, extreme weather events cost U.S taxpayers more than $136 billion. And in 2011 and 2012 alone, 25 of the most extreme weather events resulted in $188 billion in economic losses, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).Our businesses also lose money when they have to close their doors during an extreme weather event. In fact, this winter Ford, Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and General Motors all had to stop production for a period of time due to climate-fueled extreme weather, and according to a Business Forward report an auto plant loses over more than one million dollars every hour it’s required to shut down. And it’s not just our businesses at stake—our country’s economic health is also on the line. Because climate change is devastating our communities, harming our economy and costing taxpayers billions, the credit rating agency S&P recently has decided to include it as a significant factor in determining a country’s sovereign credit rating.
It’s obvious that we can no longer afford inaction, which is why President Obama and many of our local businesses are stepping up to tackle climate disruption. President Obama is taking bold action to combat this crisis with his Climate Action Plan, which will reduce carbon pollution from new and existing power plants and prepare us for the impacts of climate-fueled extreme weather. In fact, companies all across the county are also taking similar steps by working to expand our clean energy economy, investing in energy efficiency, and adapting to the changing climate. President Obama and American businesses are showing the kind of innovation we need to protect our economy and our planet for future generations.