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Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction — Global Issues

The cost of inaction on climate change is far higher than the cost of action, according to an article in Global Issues. Despite this fact, many countries and companies remain concerned that the costs of tackling climate change will be prohibitive and would rather deal with the consequences. Recent studies have shown that mitigation, such as putting a price on carbon emissions, is several times less costly than trying to adapt to climate change. Economic studies also demonstrate that strong measures to limit carbon emissions would have hardly any negative effect on economic growth and might actually lead to faster growth. Such studies have suggested that climate change costs could be minimised through action, and could even turn into economic benefits. Furthermore, steps taken to tackle climate change may directly benefit people’s health and could also potentially reduce traffic congestion. A further concern expressed by some countries is the belief that if another country is not subjected to carbon emission reduction targets then they will lose out competitively. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that the additional economic benefits of reducing carbon emissions make it worth pursuing with or without others doing it. In addition, the environmental and other costs from fossil fuel use are not factored into the prices we pay for this energy source, making them artificially lower than they should be. The article concludes that it is easier to slash emissions than seemed possible even a few years ago, and reduced emissions would produce large benefits in the short-to-medium run.

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