Earlier this week, President Obama headed to the Central Valley of California to make his case that the government should better prepare for economic damage that climate change will cause.
This is the worst drought California has seen in 500 years. As of last Tuesday, 98.57 percent of California was experiencing some drought. Along with providing aid, Obama proposed a $1 billion climate resilience fund that can be used to offset damage from climate-change-related weather catastrophes.
“The administration’s fund would invest in research to gather data on the impacts of climate change, help communities prepare for them and support innovative technologies and infrastructure,” The Hill reports, “to ready the country ‘in the face of a changing climate.'”
From an economic standpoint it makes sense to invest in alleviating climate change ahead of time to save money over the long run. But Congress most likely will not pass it. Firstly, it is predicated on the understanding that climate change is real. Congressional Republicans have consistently refused to enact policies that would ameliorate the effects of climate change. Plus, politicians are bad at planning for disaster in general as it is easier to invest money in a disaster that has already happened. The also get rewarded by voters for clean up efforts.
The billion is more than nothing, but in 2013 there were seven disasters that cost at least that much. It would take much more money and political will to substantially curtail the number of future events.