Report: federal government not prepared for climate change, risks billions

An investigation led by GAO in May 2011 found that “no coherent strategic government-wide approach to climate change funding” had been established, and that “federal officials [did] not have a shared understanding of strategic government-wide priorities.”

In the report Thursday, GAO called on the Executive Office of the President to establish a broad, “government-wide strategic approach” that would “[encompass] the entire range of related federal activities and [address] all key elements of strategic planning.”

Gaffigan said it would be fiscally prudent to invest in improving infrastructure now, rather than waiting to rebuild after a natural disaster.

“We need to think about it up front, how things are evolving in terms of threats to various infrastructures,” Gaffigan said. “If we can be a bit smarter in terms of how we can prepare … they’ll be paid off in some good investments that will survive well into the future.”