WASHINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Global action on climate change could save tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars annually in the United States by the end of this century, a report released by the White House said Monday.
The report, titled Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, compares two future scenarios: a future with significant global action on climate change, where global warming has been limited to 2 degrees Celsius, and a future with no action on climate change, where global temperatures rise 5 degrees Celsius.
It found global action on climate change reduces the frequency of extreme weather events and associated impacts, thereby avoiding an estimated 12,000 deaths annually associated with extreme temperatures in 49 U.S. cities by 2100.
Compared to a future with unchecked climate change, climate action is also projected to avoid approximately 13,000 deaths in 2050 and 57,000 deaths in 2100 from poor air quality, said the report.
In the meantime, climate action significantly reduces the economic damages of climate change. For example, in road maintenance alone, the United States could save up to 7 billion dollars annually by 2100, it said.
In addition, in a future without greenhouse gas reductions, estimated damages from sea-level rise and storm surge to coastal property in the lower 48 states are 5 trillion dollars through 2100. With adaptation along the coast, the estimated damages and adaptation costs are reduced to 810 billion dollars.
The report is a product of the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Pacific Northwest National Lab, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and other partners.
"This report shows us how costly inaction will be to Americans' health, our environment and our society," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. "But more importantly, it helps us understand the magnitude of benefits to a number of sectors of the U.S. with global climate action."