Proposed Resolution presented to the National School Boards Association by the Pacific Region trustees:
“NSBA recognizes and understands the significant negative impact that rapid and ongoing climate change has on America’s schools, students, and their communities. NSBA urges the Congress and administration of the United States to provide mitigation for the effects on our communities. Specifically, NSBA advocates for funding for school infrastructure needs and emergency funding for disaster relief caused by natural catastrophes and extreme weather events. Furthermore, NSBA urges a reduction of carbon emissions and an increase in carbon-free electricity production to slow the rapid progression of climate change and its effects on America’s schools, students and communities. Additionally, NSBA encourages states to adopt a curriculum that addresses the challenges that climate change puts on our communities and equip students with the knowledge necessary to slow such changes.”
Research demonstrates that climate change adversely affects students’ physical and mental health and negatively impacts student achievement.
The damages caused by natural catastrophes and extreme weather events devastate local economies and therefore schools.
In 2017, the Government Accounting Agency reported that the impact of climate change to the United States was approximately $350 billion for the preceding 10 years, and is projected to cost at least $35 billion annually from now until 2050 when it will increase to as much as $112 billion annually by the end of the century.
A report by the Universal Ecological Fund places the annual cost at $240 billion. These figures did not include the devastating California wildfires of 2017/2018, the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in South Texas, loss of Alaskan permafrost and coastal land mass, significant droughts in the western United States, increases in insect population growth leading to destruction of crops, and projected loss of low lying land in Florida, Virginia, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Research by the World Meteorological Organization concluded that 80 percent of natural disasters between 2005 and 2015 were in some way climate related.
The insurance industry has recognized the impact of climate change. In 2010 the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted an Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey in response to The Potential Impact of Climate Change on Insurance Regulation white paper released by the NAIC in 2008. “The disclosure of climate risk is important because of the potential impact climate change can have on insurer solvency and the availability and affordability of insurance across all major categories.”
In addition to the projected costs due to major flooding affecting coastal schools, there will be increased electricity demands due to heat and air quality for inland schools requiring increasing amounts of air conditioning and possible indoor gyms for physical education and athletics.
The specific costs to school infrastructure including the loss of buildings and lands as well as declines in tax revenue and increases in insurance rates has not been determined, however it is expected to be billions of dollars. It is vital that climate change be slowed so that school districts and their communities can spend precious dollars in classrooms to support the students of today and for future generations.