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GAO Analyzes How Governments are Managing Climate Change Risks

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Study examines how governments are limiting exposure to climate risks

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently analyzed global response to climate change in an effort to determine how climate change adaptation can ultimately lead to better risk management.

According to the GAO, selected governments across the globe have approached climate change adaptation from the angle of enhancing resilience, and by doing so, some of the governments have ended up aligning climate change adaptation measures with broader, overall resilience efforts. The GAO selected five governments in particular to analyze, and chose those governments because each has enacted laws as a part of its overall approach to climate change adaptation.

Here’s a quick look at the governments analyzed in the GAO report, along with main reasons why the governments were included:

European Union (EU): EU officials have facilitated better cooperation between member states to improve overall effectiveness of man-made disaster prevention and response.

Mexico: Mexico has an official national strategy and program for climate change adaptation and also a system that ensures that monitoring and evaluation both occur regularly.

The Netherlands: The Netherlands has legislation in place specifically to manage fresh water supply and flood protection.

The Philippines: The Philippines government has an official commission that is tasked with formulating direct strategies to combat climate change.

United Kingdom: The UK has legislation in place that mandates the issuance of a report on the impacts of climate change every five years.

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How the U.S. has approached limiting climate change risks

According to the GAO, the U.S. has also “taken steps to enhance resilience through climate change adaptation.” Additionally, the U.S. has made efforts in recent years to align climate change adaptation with larger overall resilience efforts.

Specifically, legislation regarding weather-related events was introduced in both 2014 and 2015. A bill was put forth to improve overall federal planning and preparation for extreme weather events, but the bill was never enacted, the GAO noted.

With [link url=”” title=”59 billion-dollar weather-related disasters in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015,“] according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it’s easy to see why this legislation was pushed.

Additionally, President Barack Obama established the Council on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience and also put forth an executive order that directed federal agencies to actively develop and maintain climate adaptation strategies. Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget estimated that the federal government has incurred over $357 billion in direct costs from both extreme weather events and fire events in the last ten years.

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Why the GAO conducted the study

With governments across the globe facing increasing risk due to fast acceleration of climate change, the GAO wanted to deeply analyze the efforts of select governments around the globe to paint a picture of how some of the more active clime-change nations are battling the risks of climate change right now.

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Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.

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