Climate change should be considered in post-Sandy rebuilding, says task force

The East Coast should consider climate change when rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, a federal task force charged with drafting a recovery plan contends.

The report from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, lead by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, said government must better prepare for "existing and future threats exacerbated by climate change."

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While climate scientists avoid linking individual events to climate change, they say its effects, such as warmer waters and rising sea levels, intensify storms.

Insurance firms, federal agencies and spending watchdog groups have urged policymakers and communities to better prepare for more frequent storms. They argue the federal government — and therefore, taxpayers — will increasingly be left on the hook to pay for disasters.

Sandy left $65.7 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, making it the second-costliest storm to ever to strike the United States, behind Hurricane Katrina.

The task force released 69 policy recommendations on Monday in a 200-page document that included the climate change recommendation.