Climate Action Has Already Saved the U.S. $200 Billion

blog-climate action saves billions-11.9.15A strong global climate agreement at the Paris conference will be a huge boon for the U.S. economy, according to a new report by the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity. Action by other nations (as well as our own) to cut carbon emissions offers direct cost benefits to the U.S. by reducing the impacts of climate change. As this Washington Post article points out, existing global carbon policies have already saved the U.S. over $200 billion dollars. If the Paris climate pledges are successfully implemented, that number could grow to more than $10 trillion by 2050.
The authors of the report calculated what’s called the “social cost” of carbon – the economic damages caused by every additional ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. These costs include extreme weather events, low crop yields, supply chain disruptions, and climate-related health issues, among others. For every ton of carbon that is kept from being released, there is an associated cost savings. The report estimated the percentage of the global social cost that would be returned to the United States – and the results show a clear economic incentive for our government to support the Paris agreement.
This is just one more piece of evidence that investing in climate solutions is a win-win. As the authors note, “the United States already stands to gain more from global efforts on climate change than proposed U.S. regulations would cost.” Our support can help ensure the success of the Paris agreement, and will mean we are contributing our fair share to the global economic benefits of climate action.

Why a Paris Climate Agreement Could Actually Be Very Good for the U.S.

By Chelsea Harvey, contributor to The Washington Post
With the 2015 UN climate conference looming less than a month away, there’s a strong economic reason for the United States to support a strong international agreement to curb carbon emissions, says a new report: There are trillions of dollars to be gained at home from other countries’ climate mitigation efforts.
The report, which was published on Thursday by the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity, calculates that other nations’ existing climate policies, by lessening the impacts of climate change, have already benefited the United States to the tune of more than $200 billion, and additional pledges for future action could save the country more than $2 trillion by the year 2030. This number could rise above $10 trillion by mid-century.
“There’s a really strong economic self-interest for the United States to try to lead this effort and build a global coalition around [climate] action,” said Jason Schwartz, legal director at the Institute for Policy Integrity, who co-authored the report with his colleague Peter Howard. “A lot of the arguments that advocates use to push the United States to lead are based on moral responsibilities to solve a global problem, and that’s certainly a valid perspective — but there’s also an economic perspective.”
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