Flood, Drought: Climate Change Sends Crop Insurance Payouts Skyrocketing

"Alarmed by the ballooning costs, environmentalists and other critics also say crop insurance discourages farmers from adapting to a rapidly warming planet."

"As climate change drives more droughts, rain and extreme weather across American farmland, the cost of insuring the country’s farmers has soared, putting taxpayers increasingly on the hook for the growing tab.

A new analysis based on government data finds that insurance payments to farmers have risen more than 400 percent for drought-related losses and nearly 300 percent for losses from rains and flooding, from 1995 to 2020. In that time, farmers received $143 billion in indemnity payments—settlements of claims—more than two-thirds of which were for drought and rain that destroyed crops or prevented farmers from planting them in the first place.  

“What we’re seeing is that climate change is likely increasing costs to this program, and we also know that crop insurance discourages farmers from adapting to climate change,” said Anne Schechinger, a director with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that conducted the new analysis and has long tracked government subsidies to farmers. “We think the program needs to be reformed to encourage farmers to become more resilient to extreme weather from climate change.”"

Georgina Gustin reports for Inside Climate News January 28, 2022.

Source: Inside Climate News, 01/28/2022