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What if Oregonians decline to address climate change?
Date:2/18/2009

If nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Oregon will face some $3.3 billion in annual costs, which could translate to an individual tab of about 4 percent of annual household income by 2020, according to a report produced for the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative's Program on Climate Economics by ECONorthwest.

The UO's Program on Climate Economics is guided by a steering committee of 19 academic and private economists from Oregon and other western states. Committee members also produce some of the program's research. Ernie Niemi, lead author of the report, is a principal with ECONorthwest, a fellow with the UO's Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) and a member of the steering committee. ECONorthwest was contracted to produce the assessment.

"Our research found that a failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would produce significant and continually rising costs for Oregon households and businesses," said Bob Doppelt, director of the Climate Leadership Initiative, who managed the report. "There will be no business-as-usual economy in Oregon under a business-as-usual approach to climate change."

"The $3.3 billion price tag for 2020 is a purposeful understatement," Niemi said. "The amount is based on 17 potential costs for which we had sufficient data to draw conclusions."

Total annual costs would more than triple by 2080 if insufficient action is taken to reduce emissions. Per-household costs are based on projected population growth and were computed to spell out the cost of inaction on a personal level, not as a recommendation of cost-sharing.

Based on the conclusions of three recent international reports, researchers project increased seasonal droughts and floods, higher air-conditioning costs to cope with higher temperatures, higher incidence of climate-associated health problems and deaths, more frequent wildfires and loss of habitat for species vital to the state's economic well
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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert

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