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Burning a hole (in our pocket)

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/17/06 @ 11:08am

Former World Bank Chief Economist now Britain’s top economic policy maker just released a report that calculates the bottom-line cost of global warming.

Sir Nicholas Stern looked at everything — losses in Australia’s tourism (from devastating the Great Barrier Reef), rising insurance rates in Florida, flooding in poverty stricken countries in Southeast Asia and droughts in Western Africa.

He estimates the world will lose $500 billion per year by 2050— if we take measures to keep carbon emission around current rates of output. If the world does nothing, that number could balloon to a $9 trillion loss. While Britain has pledged to cut emissions by 60% in the next four decades, it's China and here at home in the U.S. that eclipse all others.

Environmentalists are emboldened by the recent national election and the unified voice of the new Senate majority calling for meaningful climate change legislation. While others are looking to cities and the groundbreaking work of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement where cities come up with a plan to meet the Kyoto Protocol’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2112. To date, 330 mayors representing 53.3 million Americans have accepted the challenge, including five Ohio cities— Garfield Heights, Brooklyn, Dayton, Cleveland Heights and Cleveland.

What can you do? Start by reading the 12 steps cities can take to reduce global warming and about city sustainability efforts, and send your mayor a letter inviting him or her to join (or fulfill) the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement (make sure you ‘carbon’ copy your letter here).

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