The Environmental Protection Agency has just released what is being called the most comprehensive report on the impact of global emissions on climate change. Titled “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action,” the report stresses the importance of unification among countries in reducing emissions, and on taking action on a global scale in order to halt the march of climate change. Beyond the risk to life on the planet, the report also reveals the economic cost of failing to act – according to the report, there’s a whopping 180 billion dollars on the line.
President Obama has made strides over his presidency to enact regulations on emissions from cars, trucks, power plants, and airplanes and he hopes to encourage the United Nations to follow suit later this year by committing all countries to reduce their emissions.
The world could be facing a total of $180 billion in economic losses from the effects of manmade climate change by the end of the century. Not only filled with startling statistics, the report also breaks down what expenses could be saved by enforcing emissions initiatives. For instance, climate policy could prevent thousands of bridges from becoming vulnerable, saving $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion. Urban drainage systems could avoid unnecessary repair, saving $50 million to $6.4 billion. A reduction in future drought possibilities could save American farmers between $2.6 billion and $3.1 billion. Changes to our usual ways could result in saving delicate oceanic ecosystems, such as the coral reefs in Hawaii, and could save at least $1 billion by avoiding climate-induced wildfires.
For those who may be suspicious of the veracity of the report, The New York Times states that it was conducted by the EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as Energy Department-run scientific labs. It was peer reviewed and its summary independently reviewed by seven external experts.
What regulations are being called to action? Despite opposition by supporters of the coal industry, the EPA is set to reveal this August how coal emissions and global reliance on coal consumption will be decreased. Yet, the regulations also call for electric utilities to produce greener generators and to utilize wind and solar energies. Gina McCarthy, administrator for the EPA states, “It’s very clear that climate action now pays. It saves lives and cuts costs. These are really big numbers, and we can limit the losses if we act now.”