We Literally Can’t Afford To Miss This Opportunity
Passing Strong Climate Action Could Save $10 Trillion
While Congress considers the cost of taking bold climate action, the cost of inaction is far greater. Multiple independent analysts and economists have concluded in recent years that investing in clean energy will lead to more jobs and economic growth. The current proposals being considered in Congress would also be fully paid. Despite that, any potential top line budget number pales in comparison to the cost of doing nothing. Quite literally, we cannot afford climate inaction.
An analysis published in 2018 calculated the annual GDP losses because of climate inaction will eventually reach $697.77 billion per year in the United States with 4°C of warming. That adds up to total costs of $14.4 trillion in the United States alone. Globally, losses will exceed $604 trillion. Under the same analysis, if we manage to keep warming to only 2°C, annual damages would only reach $168.45 billion per year in the United States, adding up to a total of only $4.33 trillion.
The bottom line: We cannot afford inaction. Tackling climate change will save the United States over $10 trillion in the long run.
The Costs Are Already Adding Up Right Now:
- Disaster Damages: Disasters tied to climate change have already cost close to $700 billion in the past five years. According to an October report from NOAA, after only the first nine months, 2021 was on pace to be one of the most active and costliest for extreme weather disasters in U.S. history.
- Agricultural Losses: Researchers at Stanford University found that higher temperatures due to climate change have resulted in an additional $27 billion in crop insurance payouts between 1991 and 2017.
- Energy Costs: Recent heat waves have caused record demand for electricity as households turn to air conditioning to escape warming temperatures. In parts of the Pacific Northwest, electricity prices briefly shot up by more than 400%. If we don’t address climate change, electricity costs for residential and commercial ratepayers will go up by as much as $30 billion per year by mid-century as temperatures continue to rise.
- Health Costs: A report published in February of 2020 found that air pollution alone from fossil fuels costs the United States between $430 billion and $870 billion every year, and causes between 170,000 and 310,000 premature deaths.