President Barack Obama’s plan to fight global warming will cost Americans $73 billion a year and avoid less than two-tenths of a degree Celsius of projected warming, according to a new report on what it would cost the U.S. to comply with a potential United Nations treaty.
Obama promised to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025. This was meant to get a pledge for China to peak emissions by 2030 and galvanize support for a U.N. climate treaty. But living up to Obama’s emissions pledge will cost Americans.
“In other words, full achievement of the president’s climate goals will cost more than $73 billion in annual burdens to alleviate less than two-tenths of one degree of warming,” writes Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy for the right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF).
Batkins notes the Obama administration has already imposed $26 billion a year worth of regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases from vehicles and power plants. All told, these 15 rules will cost $230 billion and stop just 0.06 degrees Celsius of projected warming.
Obama wants deeper cuts to U.S. CO2 emissions, pushing for the country to reduce its emissions by 1.2 billion tons by 2025. But deeper cuts will be costly, according to Batkins.
“Assuming the cost of eliminating CO2 remains constant for the next decade nets the following figures: $11 billion in additional annual costs by 2020 and $45.5 billion by 2025,” Batkins wrote. “The 2025 goals are the equivalent of two to three years’ worth of government-wide regulation.”
The additional CO2 cuts are projected to reduce future global temperature rises by 0.125 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. That’s another $45 billion a year for little more than one-tenth of a degree abatement in warming.
“As the U.S. approaches another round of climate negotiations, these figures demonstrate the American people have already shouldered a heavy burden to reduce emissions,” Batkins wrote.
The Obama administration, however, argues that the U.S. alone can’t stop global warming, even admitting that Environmental Protection Agency regulations are meant to stop warming. The administration argues these regulations are needed to show the world the U.S. is serious about tackling global warming.
“If I can encourage and gain commitments from the Chinese to put forward a serious plan to start curbing their greenhouse gases, and that then allows us to leverage the entire world for the conference that will be taking place later this year in Paris,” Obama told VICE News in an interview earlier this year.
So, has the world followed America’s lead? Europe and other developed countries have, but China and India — the world’s first and third largest CO2 emitters, respectively — are increasing their emissions as they ramp up coal production.
In fact, current global warming pledges to the United Nations aren’t enough to keep warming to 2 degrees Celsius — a temperature goal agreed to by delegates. This, of course, assumes climate models are right about future temperature rises.
But even the U.N. pledges only “have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100,” according to Politico.
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