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Economic Council Reports Costs Of Climate Change Delay (BREAKING)

Table 1 of CEA climate report 7/29/14 (montage by S. Dechert, table from

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 ( 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 (’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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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."


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