Fight­ing cli­mate change could save lives, money: US re­port

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Tak­ing ac­tion against global warm­ing by re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions could save thou­sands of lives and avoid ma­jor eco­nomic losses be­fore cen­tury’s end, said a U.S. gov­ern­ment re­port is­sued Mon­day.

The cost of in­ac­tion is com­pared with the ben­e­fits of mak­ing changes in the re­port by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

“The re­port finds that we can save tens of thou­sands of Amer­i­can lives, and hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars, an­nu­ally in the United States by the end of this cen­tury, and the sooner we act, the bet­ter off Amer­ica and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­cans will be,” said EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gina McCarthy.

Global ac­tion against cli­mate change could re­duce the fre­quency of ex­treme weather events such as heat waves, which can be deadly, the re­port said.

Tak­ing steps to im­prove air qual­ity could save about 13,000 deaths in 2050 and 57,000 deaths in 2100, it said.

Across nearly all of the 20 in­dus­try sec­tors stud­ied, global ac­tion on cli­mate change would re­duce eco­nomic dam­age from cli­mate change, with road main­te­nance alone sav­ing up to seven bil­lion dol­lars an­nu­ally by 2100.

Some parts of the United States are ex­pected to suf­fer more from cli­mate change than oth­ers. The drought across the west, wild­fires in the Mid­west and floods and sea level rise in the mid-At­lantic and south­east are of par­tic­u­lar con­cern.

But tak­ing ac­tion now could save money, it said.

“For ex­am­ple, in a fu­ture with­out green­house gas re­duc­tions, es­ti­mated dam­ages from sea-level rise and storm surge to coastal prop­erty in the lower 48 states are US$5.0 tril­lion dol­lars through 2100,” the re­port said.

“With adap­ta­tion along the coast, the es­ti­mated dam­ages and adap­ta­tion costs are re­duced to US$810 bil­lion.”

The re­port was based on the Cli­mate Change Im­pacts and Risks Anal­y­sis pro­ject, led by EPA in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, the Pa­cific North­west Na­tional Lab, the Na­tional Re­new­able Energy Lab­o­ra­tory and oth­ers.

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