Spending on Disaster Relief Laser Talk

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the number of severe weather events that inflict at least $1 billion in damage (adjusted for inflation) has risen from an average of two per year in the 1980s to more than ten per year since 2010 [1].

Some of these events cost substantially more than $1 billion, as extreme weather events now cost the United States more than $80 billion per year, on average [2].

This is money that is not going to deficit reduction, is not going to supporting our troops abroad, is not going to programs that support the neediest in our society. A 2010 study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that 30 percent of small businesses fail to reopen following an official declaration of disaster or emergency [2].

Skeptic Claims and One-Liners

Carbon Fee Skeptic Claim: We can’t afford to switch to address climate change.
One-Liner: With an average of 10 $1 billion-dollar catastrophes in the last three years relative to an average of 2 in the 80′s, we can’t afford not to.

  1. National Climatic Data Center. “Billion-Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration./li>
  2. Plumer, Brad. “The government is spending way more on disaster relief than anybody thought”. The Washington Post. 4/29/13.