The cost of delaying action to stem climate change

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a report that examines the economic consequences of delaying the implementation of policies aimed at combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and emphasizes the urgency of taking policy action on climate change. The Council of Economic Advisers' report highlights that taking immediate action substantially reduces the cost of achieving climate targets. It points to actions that will reduce investments in high-carbon infrastructure and stimulate the development of low- and zero- emissions technologies. The report further indicates that net mitigation costs increase, on average, by approximately 40% for each decade of delay. The report further notes that climate change from delayed action leads to large estimated economic damages. For example, if delaying action causes global temperature increase to stabilize at 3°C, instead of 2°C, above preindustrial levels, annual additional damages of 0.9% of global output will be incurred; which would equal to US$150 billion in the US in 2014. These costs are incurred year after year due to permanent damage caused by the additional climate change resulting from the delay.