White House Issues Bold Climate Change Warning
The White House said Tuesday in releasing a report meant to bolster a series of actions President Barack Obama has proposed to address global warming that putting off expensive measures to curb climate change will only cost the United States more in the long run.
“Each decade we delay acting results in an added cost of dealing with the problem of an extra 40 percent,” said Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “We know way more than enough to justify acting today,” Furman told reporters.
The report drew its conclusions from 16 economic studies that modeled the costs of climate change. It was released as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds public hearings on its plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants – the centerpiece of Obama’s climate action plan.
Last month, a bipartisan report commissioned by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and environmentalist Tom Steyer forecast a multibillion-dollar price tag for climate costs, such as property losses from storms, declining crop yields and soaring power bills during heatwaves.
At a Senate budget committee hearing on Tuesday examining the costs of not addressing climate change, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions said the United States must also weigh the consequences of acting on climate.
Because of the estimated 3 degree rise in Earth’s temperature, the U.S. government is instilling mandates now to avoid paying $150 billion annually because of climate change damage.
The battle with climate change has already resulted in 200 municipalities being named in a class-action lawsuit initiated by Farmers Insurance Group for “failure to prepare for climate change.”
Michael Gerrad, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, said “one could easily imagine architects and engineers being accused of professional malpractice for designing structures that don’t withstand foreseeable climate-related events.”
In 2013, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a $20 billion dollar project to combat climate change and the threat of rising sea levels with the construction of flood gates and levees.
At the time, Bloomberg said : “Whether you believe climate change is real or not is beside the point. The bottom line is: We can’t run the risk.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee added cities need to become “climate change friendly”. Construction needs to withstand extreme weather, power needs to be rerouted during outages, and cities need to be protected from flooding and provide assistance to their residents in moving out of badly affected areas.
In the report entitled, “Risky Business”, climate change is viewed as a catalyst of a coming financial crisis.
Contributor Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the US Treasury and CEO of Goldman Sachs said: “The good news is if we act immediately we can avoid the very worst outcomes. So a huge takeaway here is that taking a cautious approach, waiting for more information, a business as usual approach, is actually radical risk taking. It is very important that government and business act soon.”
Hopefully, those actions will be taken sooner rather than later.
Sources: HuffingtonPost.com and Investigative Headline News for July 29, 2014