Climate Change Tops List of Govt. Programs Vulnerable to Waste: GAO


The Government Accountability Office has added two big government operations to its latest "high risk list" for being vulnerable for waste, fraud, abuse, inefficiency and mismanagement.

The first is the government's overall management of programs that deal with possible climate change problems, such as the federal flood and crop insurance programs and direct damage to federal property. It also is concerned about disaster relief programs, which spent more than $100 billion in recent years including FEMA ($80 billion 2004-2011) and emergency spending, such as the $50 Sandy relief bill. Add in Katrina relief and you get billions more.

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The GAO is looking at climate change for the first time as one big “umbrella” category because of the large financial risks to taxpayers for weather events that may be caused by climate change. The GAO says its report is not about scientific evidence around climate change;  it is worried about the “fiscal exposure” that might arise from climate change. It wants a federal “risk management strategy to help protect vulnerable sectors and communities that might be affected by changes in climate.”

Taxpayers are also at risk for $24 billion in new weather satellite and tracking systems which aren't being managed well enough to ensure good weather tracking and warnings.

But there is one piece of good news in the GAO report ... the computer geeks at the IRS have now made enough fixes to the agency’s $10 billion computer modernization program -- which went on the GAO's high-risk list in 1995 -- to finally get off it.

About 30 other programs and operations remain on the high risk list, including Medicare, Medicaid, Pentagon acquisitions and the Postal Service. View the report here.

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