NWF@AMS: Getting Local on Cost of Climate Inaction

Wildfire in Angeles National Forest (Photo: Anthony Citrano, www.zigzaglens.com)

The national discussion on how to respond to the climate crisis centers almost exclusively on any possible costs of action. But the potentially massive costs of inaction go virtually unmentioned. What are the costs of allowing unlimited carbon pollution to continue unchecked, leading to huge increases in temperature, sea level and extreme weather?

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) put out a must-read report on the cost of inaction two years ago, looking at big-picture impacts like hurricane damages, real estate losses, and energy & water costs. But the costs go far deeper, all the way down to local first responders needing to beef up disaster response plans for heavier flooding, intensifying wildfires, and more concern for elderly citizens during stronger heat waves.

At the American Meteorological Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Seattle, Dr. Renee McPherson of the University of Oklahoma explains her research: