Friday, September 4, 2015

Summary of Recent Reports on the Costs of Climate Action/Inaction

Reports are coming in that make it hard to ignore the economic benefits of action on climate change. This includes recent reports from Citi the world's third largest bank and the London School of Economics, one of the most prestigious and respected schools in the world.

In April 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Department of Energy published reports that demonstrate just how high the costs of inaction could be.

According to a study by the WHO, the financial costs of air pollution in Europe alone amounts to $1. trillion each year from death and disease. This is one tenth of Europe's gross national product. The economic costs of deaths alone represent $1.4 trillion.

As reported by Bloomberg, a US Energy Department report indicates that in the US, extreme weather costs about $33 billion each year.

According to a Tufts University report commissioned by the NRDC, the costs of climate inaction to the US economy is equivalent to more than $3.8 trillion annually or 3.6 percent of the nation's GDP by 2100.  Hurricane damage, real estate losses, increased energy costs and water costs add up to a price tag of 1.8 percent of U.S. GDP, or almost $1.9 trillion annually (in today’s dollars) by 2100.  Hurricane damages: $422 billion Real estate losses: $360 billion Increased energy costs: $141 billion Water costs: $950 billion.

The NRDC report indicates that if left unchecked global warming will cause drastic changes to the planet’s climate, with average temperature increases of 13 degrees Fahrenheit in most of the United States and 18 degrees Fahrenheit in Alaska over the next 100 years.

As reported in skeptical science, peer-reviewed projections indicate that the costs of inaction on climate change outweigh the costs of addressing the problem by trillions of dollars. 

"The benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions outweigh the costs by trillions of dollars. Combining the results of the report by the German Institute of Economic Research and Watkiss et al. (2005) studies, we find that the total cost of climate action (cost plus damages) by 2100 is approximately $12 trillion, while the cost of inaction (just damages) is approximately $20 trillion."

Image Credit: Skeptical Science

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Economic Benefits of Combating Climate Change (IIED)
Economic Costs of Combating Climate Change (IPCC)
Reducing Fossil Fuel Use: The Longer We Wait the More it will Cost
Infographic - How Much Would it Cost to Go Green Globally?
Graphic - The Cost of Mitigating Climate Change
The Financial Costs of Biodiversity Loss
Extreme Weather and the Costs of Climate Change
The Costs of Global Warming
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