WASHINGTON, July 30 — Failure to take any action on climate change now is costly, the White House warned Tuesday in a report, marking its latest effort by the Obama administration to rally support for its climate policies.
The report, written by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said that there is "a vigorous public debate" over whether to delay implementing mitigation policies until a future date but it found that the longer the delay, the more difficult it becomes to stem climate change.
"An analysis of research on the cost of delay for hitting a specified climate target (typically, a given concentration of greenhouse gases) suggests that net mitigation costs increase, on average, by approximately 40 percent for each decade of delay," the report said.
It warned that a delay that results in warming of 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, instead of 2 degrees Celsius as recommended by the international climate negotiations, "could increase economic damages by approximately 0.9 percent of global output."
"To put this percentage in perspective, 0.9 percent of estimated 2014 U.S. Gross Domestic Product is approximately USD 150 billion," the report said.
"The incremental cost of an additional degree of warming beyond degrees Celsius would be even greater. Moreover, these costs are not one-time, but are rather incurred year after year because of the permanent damage caused by increased climate change resulting from the delay."
The report came as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held public hearings on its plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States and also the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's climate action plan.
The proposed rule has come under attack from some Congressmen and industry groups who referred to it as a part of the "war on the coal industry."
On Tuesday, the Obama Administration also unveiled a Food Resilience initiative which is "aimed at empowering America's agricultural sector and strengthening the resilience of the global food system in a changing climate," the White House said. (PNA/Xinhua)