Long before President Donald Trump even took control of the Oval Office, he has been expressing his skepticism about the phenomenon that has most of the world worried: Global warming.
Once in control, the POTUS made sure to fill his administration with appointeeswho shared his disbelief in the scientific evidence for climate change.
Though most of Trump’s tweets involved some kind of confusion between climate and weather, one of the biggest myth pushed by him was that climate change is a hoax created by China to harm America’s economy.
As a result, over the years, the Trump administration has scrapped various fundamental environmental regulationsover belief that climate action benefits other countries much more than us.
However, according to a recently released research report, the reverse is actually true: After India, the United States reportedly suffers the most from carbon emissions —and thus have the most to gain economically from corrective measures, whether at home or internationally.
The first country-by-country estimate was done to determinehow much each country around the world will suffer in future economic damage from each new ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
The study, “Country-level social cost of carbon,” calculated the social cost of carbon (SCC) — “the measure of the economic harm from carbon dioxide emissions”—for each country separately.
And, as it turns out, considerable damage could be done to some of the world's greatest powers.
“Our analysis demonstrates that the argument that the primary beneficiaries of reductions in carbon dioxide emissions would be other countries is a total myth,” said lead-author Prof. Kate Ricke of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in a news release. “We consistently find, through hundreds of uncertainty scenarios, that the U.S. always has one of the highest country-level SCCs.”
“The US is one of the biggest losers,” she added, “even when compared to other large economies.”
The three countries set to take the greatest hit from the climate change are United States, India and Saudi Arabia.
The findings of the research suggests that Trump administration has been underestimating how much the country can benefit from curbing its greenhouse gas emissions and the country has a lot more to gain from international climate agreements than the government is willing to admit.
Moreover, the research has also proved the policymakers wrong who often defend the regulations rollbacks by arguing carbon dioxide causes little immediate harm to the economy. The study revealed the actual impact is a lot worse that what the agencies report.
For instance, the most-trusted contemporary estimates of SCC are those calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In 2017, the EPA estimated that the SCC in 2020 would only be between $1 and $6 — as part of their effort to repeal President Obama’s climate rules for new power plants.
However, the study in question, showed SCC to be approximately $180 -- 800 per ton of carbon emissions.
"We all know carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels affects people and ecosystems around the world, today and in the future; however these impacts are not included in market prices, creating an environmental externality whereby consumers of fossil fuel energy do not pay for and are unaware of the true costs of their consumption,” said Ricke.
He went on to explain why the U.S. should expect to take the greatest hit from the carbon emissions.
“It makes a lot of sense because the larger your economy is, the more you have to lose. Still, it's surprising just how consistently the US is one of the biggest losers, even when compared to other large economies," said Ricke.
It’s noteworthy that countries in the European Union who have been the most active in addressing the climate change, are relatively unaffected according to the new study.
On the other hand, countries, like India and China alongside the U.S. who have slacked in adopting environmental regulations, are the ones to be most affected by the carbon emissions.
It’s about time the Trump administration stops denying the threat looming over the country and realizes the country has the most to gain from climate change reforms.
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