Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - October 17, 2017 


On the rundown: a new poll has Americans turning thumbs-down on Trump’s hurricane response; changes in the works to North Carolina’s election law; a move to protect Central California wilderness; and making federal buildings “bird friendly”

Daily Newscasts

Researchers Project the Cost of Ignoring Climate Change

Scientists note that climate change can have both subtle and extreme impacts ranging from drought to severe weather events. (Jody Davis/Pixabay)
Scientists note that climate change can have both subtle and extreme impacts ranging from drought to severe weather events. (Jody Davis/Pixabay)
October 4, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa - Economists warn that the costs of climate change in the United States, from the health impacts of air pollution to natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, could top $350 billion annually in the next 10 years.

However, Ryan Wiser, a senior scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said some of those costs could be offset if more states commit to renewable energy. According to his new report, the United States could save more than $160 billion in climate damage by 2050, and even more in health savings.

"We estimate roughly $100 billion of health savings," he said. "That primarily comes through reduced premature deaths from emissions that are otherwise offset by the use of these renewable sources."

Wiser's projections are based on existing Renewable Portfolio Standards. These laws are on the books in 29 states including Iowa, which first began requiring utilities to generate specific amounts of clean energy in 1983. Wiser noted that if states committed to larger portfolios, savings could add up to more than $1 trillion.

A separate study by the Universal Ecological Fund found that billion-dollar weather disasters in the United States are on the rise, with no sign of slowing. Wiser cautioned that it's impossible to directly tie any individual natural disaster to climate change.

"Certainly well before humans, there were extreme weather events," he said. "What we do know is that extreme forms of weather are likely to become more frequent and more worrisome at higher temperatures."

The U.S. Department of Energy ranks Iowa first in the nation in electricity generation from wind.

Wiser's report is online at iopscience.iop.org, and the UEF study is at feu.us.org.

Eric Galatas/Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - IA