What’s The Cost Of Ignoring Climate Change? Up To $180 Billion

The U.S. could lose up to $180 billion in economic losses by the end of the century because of climate change.

The report, “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action,” released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House, focused on the changing climate effects in 20 different sectors of the United States, such as human health, infrastructure, and water resources. This is the most comprehensive report to date.

Here are some of the key findings from the report:

1. Global action on climate change can reduce the frequency of extreme weather events and associated impacts. 

  • If we take global action on climate change, by 2100 we could avoid an estimated 12,000 deaths annually associated with extreme temperatures in 49 U.S. cities.
  • If we take global action on climate change, it’s projected that approximately 13,000 deaths in 2050 and 57,000 deaths in 2100 can be avoided from poor air quality.

2. Global action now will lead to greater benefits over time

  • The decisions we make today will have long-term effects. Our choices can either help or burden our future generations.

3. Costly damages in the United States can be avoided through global action on climate change

  • Almost all of the sectors studied in the report have concluded that action on global climate change can reduce economic damages. The United States could save up to $7 billion annually by 2100 in just road maintenance.

4. Climate change impacts are not equally distributed

  • Some areas of the US are more vulnerable than others.
  • If we don’t combat climate change in the Southwest, the number of severe and extreme droughts is projected to nearly quadruple by the end of the century. In the Rocky Mountains, an estimated 1.9 million more acres are projected to burn in 2100.

5. Through adaption to climate changes, we can save damages and costs. 

  • The cumulative damages to coastal property across the U.S. are projected to be $5.0 trillion by 2100. With adaptation along the coast, the estimated damages (and adaptation costs) are reduced to $810 billion.

6. United Nations Climate Change Conference

  • In December, President Obama will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in an attempt to reach a new international climate treaty. He has submitted a proposal for his plan, which is to cut U.S. Climate Pollution by 26-28 percent by 2025.



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