Climate crisis could cost US $2 trillion each year by the end of the century, White House warns

Climate crisis could cost US $2 trillion each year by the end of the century, White House warns

USA News

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  • OMB analysis found that the climate crisis could cost the U.S. $2 trillion annually by the end of the century.
  • President Biden’s 2023 budget is set to invest a total of $44.9 billion to “tackle the climate crisis.”
  • A recent U.N. climate report warned of dangers for rising global warming temperatures.

The climate crisis could cost the U.S. government $2 trillion each year – an annual federal revenue loss of 7.1% – by the end of the century, the White House said in an assessment published Monday.

“The fiscal risk of climate change is immense,” Candace Vahlsing, the Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for climate, energy, environment and science, and Danny Yagan, OMB’s chief economist, wrote in a White House briefing room blog.

“Climate change threatens communities and sectors across the country, including through floods, drought, extreme heat, wildfires, and hurricanes that affect the U.S. economy and the lives of everyday Americans,” Vahlsing and Yagan said. They added that the federal government often acts as “an insurer of last resort” and that the growing crisis will “add new pressures on the Federal budget and taxpayers.”

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Beyond the annual $2 trillion cost, the OMB also found that the federal government could spend an additional $25 billion to $128 billion each year on coastal disaster relief, flood insurance, crop insurance, health care insurance, wildland fire suppression and flooding at federal facilities. For example, more than 12,195 federal buildings “could be inundated under ten feet of sea level rise” with a total replacement cost of $43.7 billion, Vahlsing and Yagan said.

The OMB’s analysis comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s budget for the 2023 fiscal year, released last week. Biden’s budget is set to invest a total of $44.9 billion “to tackle the climate crisis,” an increase of $16.7 billion, or about 60%, over the 2021 fiscal year.

Biden also briefly addressed efforts to combat climate change in his first State of the Union address last month – promising, for example, to “build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations” and to start replacing lead pipes “so every child, every American, has clean water to drink at home and at school.”

Also in the federal budget: Biden budget calls for income tax on wealthiest Americans, more police spending in 2023  

Also on Monday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report warning of the dangers of rising global warming levels – noting that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could be “beyond reach” if significant emission reductions across all sectors are not taken immediately.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said that the IPCC report showed “a litany of broken climate promises” by governments and corporations worldwide. “It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world,” Guterres said.

In the 2015 Paris accord, governments agreed to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. Temperatures have increased by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible,” IPCC co-chair Jim Skea said. “This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”

‘It’s now or never’: UN climate report shows globe is on ‘track toward an unlivable world’  

Contributing: The Associated Press

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