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Climate Change and the cost of delayed action

The scientific agreement is that Climate Change weighs heavily upon the consequences of man. The action of releasing greenhouse gases have led to the warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, according to the Council of Economic Advisers in a report released today and posted on The White House website.

Obama Meets With State, Local, And Tribal Leaders Climate Task Force
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In today's report, the Council also released the dire consequences of delaying policies to reduce the pace of emissions and thus calling for an immediate change in policy.

For example, Phytoplankton is the key element in the change of the planet as the specks of algae are emitted to the clouds from the basic phytoplankton. This is the key to affect climate swings and it is the key to feeding arctic inhabitants. Studies have now verified this basic key player in the Climate Change scenario.

The report was written under the leadership of Jim Stock, a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers, who has returned to his teaching position at Harvard University. The findings are outlined on The White House website today as:

First, immediate action is a cost reduction toward the cost of achieving climate targets. Investment in high-carbon infrastructure is expensive and needs to be replaced with new low-zero emission alternate energy technologies, such as solar and wind energy.

The Council developed the graph and mathematical conclusion that delay in change increases costs by 40 percent each decade. The waste in emissions is a cost increase if delay continues and provisions are not provided to change the infrastructure. It is a cost to national security also. The strain in the power grid presents a gap in security. The loss of agriculture leaves unrest when food is unavailable to distribute to third world countries.

Second, the delay is calculated in cost by the increase in Celsius temperatures. The two degrees in increased temperature means increased warming global climate change. This translates to the US GDP cost of .9 percent of the estimated $150 billion. The delay in action to mitigate fossil fuel emissions costs are high. With an increase of 3 to 4 degrees in Celsius an additional 1.2 percent of the GDP is wasted on damage cost of natural disruptive events. The costs continue each year due to the existing damage.

Third, there is the big picture. The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheets sends increased sea levels. Kiribati, an island in the central Pacific, has started moving its entire population which is the size of London to land purchased in the Fiji islands. It is only two meters above sea level.

Similarly, the islands off of Washington State face the same challenge. The state leaders are making plans on how to prepare for loss of the islands and safety of the population. Seattle, Washington faces a change in its water sewer system to prevent flooding from the rising ocean level due to the ice melt in the Arctic. The extensive studies by government officials have led to a Seattle Climate Action Plan.

The thawing of permafrost, which is the warming and melting earlier each year of the frozen ice sheet only accelerates global warming. Without reversal of this time table the consequences globally are massive. The “tipping point” is not yet measured.

Fourth, meaningful change needs to be enacted. The cost of prevention of flooding in sea level places, such as New York City’s Manhattan, Miami Beach which already faces flooding issues and Seattle which has made plans to prevent flooding are the types of actions and economic plans required. The Dept. of Interior has set aside $10 million for the needs of the Inuit in the Arctic part of Alaska.

The new team on the council is Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. John Podesta is Counselor to the President.

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