Federal climate change action? Not through this maze

GAO report examines complexity of how Feds spend climate change money

It probably shouldn't amaze anyone that any dealings with the government could end up being complex.  But the congressional watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office may have outdone themselves on this one. This week they issued a 95-page report that basically says the US needs a formal climate change program if the significant money and resources to address the situation are to be used wisely (federal funding for climate change activities reported by Office of Management and Budget increased from $4.6 billion to $8.8 billion  -- 91%, or 62% after adjusting for inflation between 2003 to 2010).

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In one of the great understatements of our times the GAO states the current system of how climate change activities are managed is complex and crosses way too many agencies to be effective.

Then it shows the impenetrable chart here entitled "Selected Coordination Mechanisms for Federal Climate Change Activities," and the "complexity" becomes more than clear. Makes you wonder how anything gets done.

In the end the GAO makes two key recommendations for future government climate change activities:

  • Clearly establish federal strategic climate change priorities, including the roles and responsibilities of the key federal entities, taking into consideration the full range of activities within the federal climate change enterprise.
  • Assess the effectiveness of current practices for defining and reporting federal climate change funding and aligning funding with priorities, and make improvements to such practices as needed for Congress and the public to fully understand how climate change funds are spent.

They may also want to eliminate a few hundred stops on the action organization chart along the way.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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