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Climate Change Table 1 of US CEA climate report (whitehouse.gov)

Published on July 29th, 2014 | by Sandy Dechert

6

Economic Council Reports Costs Of Climate Change Delay (BREAKING)

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July 29th, 2014 by
 
Table 1 of CEA climate report 7/29/14 (montage by S. Dechert, table from whitehouse.gov)

The time has come for America’s jolly denial-mongers to stop laughing about climate change. The White House released a report this morning from the government’s Council of Economic Advisers that shows what an economic whack we’re in for if we don’t start doing something about climate change NOW.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (twitter)

Photo Sen. Jim Inhofe, principal denier of climate change reality in the Congress.

The report finds that delaying policy actions by a decade increases total mitigation costs by approximately 40 percent, and failing to take any action would risk substantial economic damage. These findings emphasize the need for policy action today. (emphasis added)

Noted climate scientist Michael E. Mann told CleanTechnica this morning that the study’s findings “seem consistent with other recent assessments of climate change mitigation and the cost of inaction.” The Council used 16 studies to compare over 100 actions on climate change. Here’s an outline of what the 32-page report says about costs of climate change delay:

I. Executive summary and introduction

  • Delaying climate policies definitely increases costs.
  • Climate policy is our best climate insurance.
  • Other costs of delay and benefits of acting now.

Climate costs (whitehouse.gov)II. Costs from delaying policy action

  • Increasing damages will result if delay means missing climate targets.
  • Climate change mitigation costs will increase with every delay.
  • —effect on costs of climate targets, length of delay, and international coordination
  • —summary: quantifying patterns across the studies

III. Climate policy is climate insurance

  • Damage scenarios of climate change (whitehouse.gov)There’s tail risk uncertainty and large-scale changes are possible.
  • Implications of tail risk.

Sidelights of the climate insurance section include “Weitzman’s Dismal Theorem” and the “Implications of Uncertainty about Tipping Points.” Separate sidebars reveal The Role Of Technological Progress In Cost Estimates and Abrupt Impacts Of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises. There are five pages of references. An appendix lists the studies reviewed in Section II and used in the meta-analysis, and briefly describes the scenarios of climate change delay they analyzed. From the official press release:

With our country already experiencing the effects of climate change, the President has taken action to cut carbon pollution by moving to cleaner sources of energy and improving the energy efficiency of our cars, trucks and buildings. But further steps are urgently needed to ensure that we leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged.

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About the Author

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm, writes two top-level blogs on Examiner.com, ranked #2 on ONPP's 2011 Top 50 blogs on Women's Health, and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."



  • Roger Pham

    The best hope for dealing with GW and CC is the steady lowering cost of solar and energy. This reality must be disseminated far and wide so that business, decision makers, and investors can quickly move to RE and away from fossil fuels. Scientists and engineers must find more ways to use solace and wind energy to replace fossil fuels in all manner of usage and not just in power generation. Cleantechnica is doing a great job in this regard.

  • just_jim

    I’d like to see the methodology that got the cost of warming as low as they project. It seems likely that a 4 degree C rise would cost far more than an extra 2% of GDP, I wouldn’t be surprised at a 10%+ cost.

    • Russell

      Well yes. World gdp grows more than 2% per year so it would hardly even matter if that was all it could do. It would be just 1 lost year of growth and the GFC did more than that. There is such a vast difference in predictions I have seen with say a 30% food production loss in some situations. That really isn’t compatible with a 2% gdp drop is it.

  • JamesWimberley

    How long before the denialist machine produces its talking points against this latest authoritative (and scientifically conservative) report to reassure the faithful?

    • Bob_Wallace

      It looks like the fossil fuel industry is appealing to a higher power….
      Public Service Commission officials in Alabama are asking citizens to pray for coal.

      “Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (pictured above) slammed the new regulations.

      “We will not stand for what they are doing to our way of life in Alabama,” she said during a press conference at the Alabama Coal Association.

      Later in the conference, Cavanaugh asked residents to pray for the state.”
      “PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker said that Alabama’s coal was created by God and charged that the government shouldn’t interfere with God’s plan….”
      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/alabama-officials-pray-for-coal

      • Gwennedd

        *head desk*

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