Bipartisan report claims climate change will cost U.S. billions of dollars a year

A new report entitled “Risky Business” authored by a bipartisan group commissioned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Secretary of the Treasury and Goldman Sachs alum Henry Paulson, and environmentalist and financier Tom Steyer claims climate change will cost the United States billions of dollars annually.

The report looked at how annual property losses due to hurricanes and other storms have already been pegged at $35 billion, energy costs amongst consumers are up to $12 billion each year and various crop declines are costing farmers tens of billions of dollars a year.

This dire report comes soon after President Obama urged U.S. regulators to take strong action to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already put forward a new plan that would cost the U.S. approximately $2 trillion over the next two decades.

Climate changeAccording to the bipartisan report, by around the mid-century point, between $66 and $106 billion worth of coastal property will be below sea levels. By the year 2100, there is a five percent chance that losses will surpass $700 billion.

Paulson, an instrumental figure in the Bush administration when the economic collapse commenced, published an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Sunday and wrote that the national economy is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and a rise in sea levels and temperatures will lead to power outages, deaths and diminished labor productivity.

His solution is to institute a global carbon tax, a tax applied to coal, petroleum and natural gas.

“The solution can be a fundamentally conservative one that will empower the marketplace to find the most efficient response. We can do this by putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide — a carbon tax,” wrote Paulson. “It’s true that the United States can’t solve this problem alone. But we’re not going to be able to persuade other big carbon polluters to take the urgent action that’s needed if we’re not doing everything we can do to slow our carbon emissions and mitigate our risks.”

Although the Obama administration and other public officials have called for action to address climate change, there have been some detractors to this report, including Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, who told the Daily Caller that “It’s hard to determine what is more delusional, Paulson thinking the climate can be bailed out with a carbon tax or actually believing his actions as Treasury Secretary bailed out the U.S. economy.”

Other critics have cited previous catastrophic climate change predictions, such as Al Gore’s 2008 prediction that the entire north polar ice cap would have eviscerated by 2013, which didn’t come true. In fact, this sea ice actually expanded.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott reintroduced legislation to the parliament in an effort to repeal a carbon tax. The prime minister argued by doing so it would lower the average household electricity and natural gas bills by hundreds of dollars a year.

The Canadian province of British Columbia implemented a carbon tax in 2008 in an effort to curb CO2 emissions. Experts have cited that has shown the inflation rate has gone up in the western province, the economy has slowed down and the cost of energy is increasing twice as fast as the rest of Canada.

“The same stories exist for real per capita primary household income and real per capita household disposable income in British Columbia,” wrote Sierra Rayne in the American Thinker. “Both were also growing much faster than the Canadian average in the five years before the carbon tax, and since the carbon tax both have been growing much slower than the Canadian average. Since the carbon tax, British Columbia’s unemployment rate has also increased 70 percent faster than the Canadian average.”

Conservative critics also present the case that politicians would use a carbon tax and cap-and-trade legislation to benefit their biggest political supporters than actually do what these measures are intended to do, which is to help the environment.