Green Cities

EPA Releases Report On Urgency of Action On Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls for global action on climate change mitigation in a recent report. “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action” lays out a comprehensive argument for the urgency of worldwide action with a positive spin. The report projects the benefits to the U.S. by 2100 if the world takes global action to reduce climate change impacts. Such benefits include a 93% reduction in temperature-related deaths by 2100 and an estimated savings of $10-$34 billion in electricity supply costs. The report summarizes the claim that scientists make regarding the adverse effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) on the health and well-being of the planet, ultimately projected to weaken the U.S. in various sectors: health, infrastructure, electricity, water resources, agriculture and forestry, and ecosystems. Each of these categories is analyzed within the report, including further divisions of impacts from increased GHGs such as on water quality, coastal property, wildfires, crop yields and electricity, to name a few.

Statistical resources used in the document are taken from the EPA’s Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis, a current program aimed at understanding the damages of increased GHGs to the U.S. through quantitative models. The CIRA report uses uniform inputs for its models in order to standardize the comparisons between impacts to selected sectors in order to provide more thorough projections. While the report admits to not being all-inclusive in addressing all causes of climate change damages and all possible mitigation techniques, it does emphasize its success of extensively monetizing the future losses to the U.S. of inaction on GHGs reduction.

The nearly one-hundred page document provides detailed estimates on damages to the U.S. by 2100 though understandable language and a high percentage of clear models and diagrams, making the arguments comprehensible and hard hitting. The mostly anthropocentric and socio-economic angle does put forth the symbiotic benefits to both humans and the environment to addressing global warming. Through “significant” global action on climate change mitigation, the U.S., according the report, is estimated to avoid major damages. The question is whether or not the rest of the world will read this, or an equivalent report, and begin to act on climate now, before it’s too late.

Molly Pfeffer, Intern