US green energy drive needed to avoid extreme climate change effects

November 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

“Extreme weather is becoming the new norm” in North America

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The Climate Group has called for an “American Clean Revolution”, a massive scale-up of investment in cleantech and renewable energy, as a way to future-proof America’s infrastructure, avert catastrophic extreme weather events resulting from climate change, and boost the US economy.

In a report – “An American Clean Revolution: Why the US should play to win on the clean economy” – The Climate Group stressed the rising cost inaction on climate change: in the 1980s weather-related insurance costs to the US economy were $3 billion/year. Today it is around $20 billion and rising. Since 1980 coastal disasters have surpassed $560 billion in damages – excluding the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

An “American Clean Revolution” will also future-proof America’s infrastructure – now in need of an urgent overhaul as several incidents and extreme weather phenomena, such as Sandy, have shown. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave US infrastructure a ‘D’ in its most recent report card. Without significant investment, poor infrastructure could cost the US economy $1.3 trillion by 2020.

Climate-related human and health costs are also rising: The current estimated annual cost (health care, productivity losses) of asthma and allergies is $32 billion. Increasing temperatures and failure to reduce emissions will drive up the urban pollution that causes these conditions.

By August 2012, a record 2000 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in the US with 87 deaths. This disease was unknown in the US before 1998 but is spreading with rising temperatures.

The report’s authors stress that if America fails to act in the global cleantech race other countries may overtake it. China in 2011 surpassed US as the largest wind country by nameplate capacity and it is set to become the world’s largest wind energy generator.

“’Extreme’ weather is becoming the new norm”, said Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. “The time for an American Clean Revolution is now. This is the only way to tackle the devastating effects of climate change, future-proof American infrastructure, and enhance America’s national and energy security. If America doesn’t act now others will”.

The American Clean Revolution initiative was launched during this year’s Climate Week NYC, organized in partnership with the City of New York and supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Business and political leaders including Tony Blair, Prince Albert of Monaco, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, conservative commentator Norman Ornstein, CEOs and Chairmen of top companies, World Bank representatives as well as Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union, Cecil B. Wilson, American Medical Association and Deborah Fikes, World Evangelical Alliance came together during Climate Week NYC to call for an American “Clean Revolution” which could grow the US economy by $3 trillion and create more than 1 million new jobs.

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