The cost of delay: White House report citing PIK research

08/30/2014 - Delaying climate policy might enhance costs substantially. The US government in a major recent report makes this finding a central message, citing a number of studies led by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Mitigation costs increase, on average, by approximately 40 percent for each decade of delay, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors states in the report. Inaction is likely to cause persistent economic damages, they argue – many billions of Dollars each year in the US alone.
The cost of delay: White House report citing PIK research
The White House in Washington, D.C. Photo: thinkstock

“Immediate action is indeed crucial for keeping climate targets within reach at societally acceptable costs”, says Gunnar Luderer of PIK whose research is quoted several times in the report. “We’re glad to see that our research has proven to be useful to key decision-makers.” The report integrates findings of the RECIPE project (Report on Energy and Climate Policy in Europe) as well as of AMPERE (Assessment of Climate Change Mitigation Pathways and Evaluation of the Robustness of Mitigation Cost Estimates), published in a whole set of papers by researchers around Ottmar Edenhofer. This includes research by Michael Jakob and others, working at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), founded by PIK and Stiftung Mercator.

In a White House blog, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman together with the US President’s counselor John Podesta issue stark warnings. Some elements in the climate system might reach “tipping points”, they say, for example temperature thresholds, beyond which abrupt, large-scale and irreversible changes are to be expected. “Enacting meaningful change in climate policy is analogous to purchasing climate insurance,” they conclude.


Weblink to White House climate report:

Weblink to White House Blog:

Weblink to PIK study on the costs of delaying climate policy:

Weblink to AMPERE study:

Weblink to RECIPE study: