White House: Cut Carbon Now, or Pay $150B a Year Later

Climate change costs could jump 40% each decade
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2014 7:36 AM CDT
White House: Cut Carbon Now, or Pay $150B a Year Later
In this Feb. 25, 2008, file photo, the chimneys of a coal power plant.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

When it comes to climate change, the United States can pay to cut carbon emissions now, or we can pay about $150 billion a year down the road as costs soar by about 40% a decade, according to a White House Council of Economic Advisers analysis out today, as per the New York Times. The main reason, as cited by Mashable: Dodging emissions cuts now "means steeper reductions will be required at a later date to reach a given temperature target." The report comes ahead of a coal-focused EPA proposal to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2030; that plan, which could shut hundreds of coal-powered plants, faces scrutiny this week vis-a-vis hearings across the country.

Based on an analysis of 16 different studies on climate change, the White House report warns about the economic impact of “climate catastrophes,” including elevated sea levels and rising temperatures—and says that getting a handle on carbon emissions would serve as a sort of "climate insurance," notes Time. The cuts are catching heat, adds the Times, from sources including Mitch McConnell, a Koch brothers-backed Tea Party group that complains the "EPA is waging a war on traditional affordable energy," and, not surprisingly, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. But Dems are pitching it as fiscally responsible. "It’s becoming clearer and clearer that if you care about the deficit, you need to care about climate change," says Sen. Patty Murray. Also on the docket for today: new mandates on methane, reports CNN. The White House's latest report follows May's pretty dire National Climate Assessment. (More carbon production stories.)

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