Heritage: Climate Action = "Monumental Costs"


“The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent endangerment finding that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, ‘are pollutants that endanger the public’s health and welfare’ would come with monumental costs. The cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per house¬hold. Job losses are expected to exceed 800,000 in some years, and exceed at least 500,000 from 2015 through 2026. It is important to note that these are net job losses, after any jobs created by compliance with the regulations–so-called green jobs–are taken into account.

“A silver lining? ‘While the EPA has so far been silent about how it might actually regulate CO2 — and the endangerment finding is only an early step in a process that could take a year or longer.’

“The aforementioned costs, paired with what little environmental benefits we receive and questionable science, are the primary reasons this should be a slow process. Even EPA officials and Congressional proponents of global warming legislation are taking their time. The projected costs of regulation aren’t going anywhere, and time will allow more facts and reasoning to come to the table.”

— The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry Blog, March 25, 2009.


The Heritage Foundation is at it again — muddying the science and the economics on climate change. Their efforts to fool the American people into thinking that reducing pollution will cost too much are as detached from reality as their claims that climate change is a hoax.

Here are the facts:

— A cap is consistent with strong economic growth. Credible economic models forecast that the economy will grow very nearly as fast under a climate policy as under business as usual. The U.S. economy is on a path to reach $26 trillion in January 2030. With a cap on global warming pollution, the economy will get there by April 2030, just 3 months later.

Another way to look at it: The median impact on GDP from capping carbon for 2030 of analysis done by independent organizations such as the EIA and EPA is 0.58% (less than two-thirds of one percent). This figure is so small that even the differences between GDP forecasts overwhelm the impact that any of them predicts from a federal climate policy.

And, it’s critical to note that these models only look at one side of the ledger – they do not include the benefits of avoiding dangerous climate change impacts.

— Delaying action on climate change would not only cost more economically, it would also reduce the likelihood of avoiding dangerous temperature increases.

  • The science: according to the IPCC (2007) global CO2 emissions should peak no later than 2015 if there is to be a reasonable chance of avoiding 2 degrees of warming. If the US is to delay its policies there is little chance of global emissions peaking before then.
  • The economics: An analysis based on the model used by the EIA shows that delaying implementation of climate policy by 10 years would double the cost of climate policy (the estimated impact on GDP in the year 2030 was 0.54% instead of 0.28%).

— Study after study shows that inaction is the most expensive policy option. The impacts of run-away global warming will lead to rising insurance rates, crumbling public infrastructure, agricultural damage from droughts, extreme weather, new and more urgent public health threats, and increased international instability. The IPCC estimates the costs of inaction [pdf] to range from 1-5% of GDP in terms of global losses, assuming 4° C of warming.

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