Mother Jones: Stopping Climate Change Is Much Cheaper Than You Think

Climate Change Committee says: A UK report confirms the cost of preventing climate change would cost the average citizen just pennies a day

You’ve heard it before: Politicians say they’d love to take action against climate change, but they’re reeling from the sticker shock. Today, a new report from the United Kingdom’s leading climate change watchdog refutes the oft-cited argument that climate action will herald economic Armageddon.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report, with the hairy-sounding title “Statutory Advice on Inclusion of International Aviation and Shipping,” says that in 2050, the UK’s emissions reductions across the whole economy will cost 1 to 2 percent of the total GDP. This updates, in greater detail, the range predicted half a decade ago by the watershed Stern Review.

Just how much is that? For a rough comparison, 1 percent of the UK’s 2011 GDP is a little more than what the country currently spends on public housing and community amenities and is no where near the big-ticket public spending items like health care.

The United Kingdom has enshrined in law an emissions reduction of 80 percent on 1990 levels by 2050.

“It’s a very compelling economic case to act,” says David Kennedy, CEO of the CCC, an independent statutory body charged with advising parliament on all things climate. “You don’t need radical behavior and lifestyle change to achieve our climate objectives.”

“It’s a very, very small impact on growth. And what you get for that is a whole range of economic benefits.”

Mother Jones

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