The April 23 story, "Taxpayer spending on disaster fund explodes," was a revealing look at the damage climate change is causing our national economy. U.S. disasters causing at least $1 billion in damages happened, on average, six times a year between 1980 and 2018; from 2014 to 2018, however, the U.S. saw an average of 13 $1 billion disasters every single year.
Annual spending for the federal disaster relief fund typically was less than or equal to $1 billion from 1970 to 1990 in today's dollars but increased to $4 billion in the late 1990s. Now it is close to $8 billion each year.
This economic loss is paid for by taxpayers, and it will only continue to steadily increase with time. Sadly this loss does not even approach the emotional and health costs caused by climate change-fueled disasters.
We first met climate refugees from the Paradise, Calif., fire in mid-April. They told us their recent move to northern Minnesota was their chance for a fresh start because they had lost everything.
Their tragic story of overwhelming personal loss is repeated over and over with each hurricane, tornado, wildfire, mudslide and every other increasingly severe weather event that climate change fuels.
There is an economically beneficial and effective climate solution in Congress that we need U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to support. It is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to step up and be our heroes by passing this legislation now and creating the climate solution for America that we need.
Michael Overend and Lucy Grina
The writers are volunteers for the Duluth and Two Harbors chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby.