(Adds comment from Republican lawmaker, paragraphs 7-8)
By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, July 29 Putting off expensive
measures to curb climate change will only cost the United States
more in the long run, the White House said on Tuesday in a
report meant to bolster a series of actions President Barack
Obama has proposed to address global warming.
"Each decade we delay acting results in an added cost of
dealing with the problem of an extra 40 percent," said Jason
Furman, chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.
"We know way more than enough to justify acting today,"
Furman told reporters.
The report drew its conclusions from 16 economic studies
that modeled the costs of climate change. It was released as the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds public hearings on
its plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants - the
centerpiece of Obama's climate action plan.
Business groups have said the EPA's plan would hurt jobs in
the coal sector and harm the U.S. economy, but the White House
and environmental groups have pushed back against that argument.
Last month, a bipartisan report commissioned by former New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury
Secretary Henry Paulson and environmentalist Tom Steyer forecast
a multibillion-dollar price tag for climate costs, such as
property losses from storms, declining crop yields and soaring
power bills during heatwaves.
At a Senate budget committee hearing on Tuesday examining
the costs of not addressing climate change, Republican Senator
Jeff Sessions said the United States must also weigh the
consequences of acting on climate.
"Inaction costs may be real, but certainly they are distant
and somewhat uncertain," said Sessions, the top Republican on
the panel. "Every global warming action has costs and we must
acknowledge those costs and decide whether the wealth expended
gets the maximum results considering all the needs of America."
The Obama administration plans to make additional climate
announcements on Tuesday.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is set to announce
actions by his department to reduce methane emissions from the
natural gas transmission and distribution system, along with
partnerships and "stakeholder commitments," the White House
This fall, the administration is set to propose new rules to
cut methane emissions from oil and gas wells on public lands,
and also will decide whether to propose regulations to address
emissions from operations on private land, said Dan Utech,
special assistant to the president for energy and climate
The administration also will announce partnerships with IBM
Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp,
Coca-Cola Co and others to use data to help make
agriculture and food production more resilient to climate
change, the White House said.
(Additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Steve
Orlofsky and G Crosse)