Even people who do not believe in the effects of global warming and ratcheted-up weather events can understand when increasingly routine events run up a tab. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that 2017 weather and climate disasters cost the United States $306 billion. Last year was also the third warmest year recorded, according to the NOAA.

“Natural disasters have caused a record-setting amount of damage in the U.S. this year,” Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin tweeted after the report’s release. “There’s no denying that climate change will cost the U.S. trillions more in the next decade and that we have a financial and national security reason to act.”

As the report states, “the average U.S. temperature in 2017 was 54.6 degrees F (2.6 degrees F above average)… according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. In fact, the five warmest years on record for the U.S. all have occurred since 2006.”

While political leaders and pundits often diminish the effects of climate change, scientists largely agree that carbon dioxide emissions, and other emissions flowing from fossil fuels, intensify climate change. These changes result in droughts, floods and record-breaking storms like last year’s hurricanes.

Much like these experts, many officials in the global community also agree that climate change is an ongoing problem. However, the Trump administration is hell-bent on denying its effects, increasing domestic oil, gas and coal production (while also baldly attacking former President Barack Obama’s environmental policy) and remaining a holdout on the Paris Accord, an international environmental pact.

How many communities and how much capital should feigned ignorance cost the American people before policy changes? Better yet, do the people who can hop on private planes to avoid catastrophic storms even care?

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