Fellow taxpayers: Climate change is costing you a bundle. In 2017, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported that the economic effects of climate change could be significant. This is consistent with the findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Fourth National Climate Assessment, which concluded that the increase in the frequency and extent of high-tide flooding due to sea level rise threatens America's trillion-dollar coastal infrastructure.

GAO: Since 2005, federal funding for disaster assistance is at least $450 billion, including approximately $19.1 billion in supplemental appropriations signed into law on June 6, 2019. In 2018 alone, there were 14 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events across the United States, with a total cost of $91 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The U.S. Global Change Research Program projects that disaster costs will likely increase as certain extreme weather events become more frequent and intense due to climate change.

Every degree of warming costs the U.S. about one percentage point of gross domestic product (GDP). Our current emissions trajectory takes us over 4 degrees by 2100, wiping out any possibility of economic growth.

And the cost in human suffering? The Journal Nature Climate Change reported that if future warming reaches 2 degrees instead of 1.5 degrees, 150 million more people would die from air pollution alone. For perspective, that amounts to about 25 holocausts.

We have left behind the window of environmental conditions that allowed the human animal to evolve, and everything we remember as history, value as progress, and study as politics. David Wallace-Wells, author of "The Uninhabitable Earth," asks: “What will it mean to live outside that window, probably far outside it?” I hope Sens. Daines and Tester and Rep. Gianforte are seeking answers.

Norman Bishop

Bozeman