Washington (CNN) – If lawmakers delay taking action now on climate change it could cost taxpayers exponentially more in the future to deal with the effects of a warming planet, the White House is warning Tuesday.
A report from President Barack Obama's administration says the costs of mitigating carbon emissions will rise 40% per decade unless something is done now to stem the outpouring of pollutants scientists say are causing global warning.
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"What this report makes clear is first of all, we know way more than enough to justify acting today," said Jason Furman, the chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. "Delaying action will increase the cost."
The report claims new climate policy can be regarded as "insurance" against the severe effects of a warming planet, like rising sea levels and increased land temperatures.
Last month Obama's Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a plan that would drastically reduce carbon emissions from coal fired power plants, a measure fiercely opposed by both Republican and some Democratic lawmakers from coal-producing states. Public hearings on those new rules begin around the country this week.
The President has also increasingly sought to highlight the potential – and, in some cases, already realized – effects of climate change on communities, launching new programs to help towns and cities prepare for stronger storms and changing landscapes.
Thus far he's achieved his climate agenda through executive actions, part of a larger White House strategy of going around Congress on issues where legislative action appears unlikely.
On Tuesday the Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, will unveil new rules governing the transmission of methane, which officials say accounts for 9% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.