Failure to cut carbon emissions to cost the U.S. $150bn a year: report
Delaying action to reduce carbon pollution could cost the United States economy $150 billion a year, according to a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers released on Tuesday.
The document is part of the Obama administration efforts to increase public support for the President’s climate-change agenda, mainly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal targeting coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of planet-warming pollution.
The measure, experts claim, could lead to the shutdown of hundreds of power plants, a decline in domestic coal production, a jump in electricity rates and a ultimate renovation of the nation’s power supply.
The analysis by the council, President Barack Obama’s source for advice on economic policy, compared over 100 actions on climate change laid out in 16 studies to extract the average cost of delayed efforts.
It concluded the cost of mitigating the effects of climate change could rise by as much as 40% if action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is delayed 10 years.
“Events such as the rapid melting of ice sheets and the consequent increase of global sea levels, or temperature increases on the higher end of the range of scientific uncertainty, could pose such severe economic consequences as reasonably to be thought of as climate catastrophes,” the report reads. “Confronting the possibility of climate catastrophes means taking prudent steps now to reduce the future chances of the most severe consequences of climate change.”
The study also found that any increase in climate change amid that delayed action would gravely exacerbate the problem; a rise to 3°C above preindustrial temperatures would mean mitigation costs would increase by about 0.9% of global economic output year on year.
Several former treasury secretaries and a couple of billionaires have come forward in recent weeks to warn Americans about the economic risks of climate change.
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