The Climate Group calls for an ‘American Clean Revolution’ to avert catastrophic effects of climate change and kickstart US economy

2 November 2012

New York City (November,2 2012) – The Climate Group called today for an “American Clean Revolution”, a massive scale-up of investment in cleantech and renewable energy, as a way to future-proof America’s infrastructure, avert catastrophic extreme weather events resulting from climate change, and boost the US economy.

In a report - “An American Clean Revolution: Why the U.S. should play to win on the clean economy” – The Climate Group stressed the rising cost of not acting on climate change: in the 1980s weather-related insurance costs to the U.S. economy were approximately $3 billion per year. Today it is around $20 billion and rising. At the same time, since 1980 coastal disasters have surpassed $560 billion in damages –that figure does not include the recent devastation caused in the North East by Hurricane Sandy.

An ‘American Clean Revolution will also future-proof America’s infrastructure – now in need of an urgent overhaul as a series of incidents and extreme weather phenomena, such as Hurricane Sandy, have shown. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded the U.S.’ infrastructure system a ‘D’ in its most recent report card. Without significant investment, poor water, electricity and transport infrastructure could cost the US economy $1.3 trillion by 2020.

According to the report, climate-related human and health costs are also rising: estimates put the current annual cost, though direct health care and productivity losses, of asthma and allergies at $32 billion. Increasing temperatures and failure to reduce emissions will drive up the urban pollution that causes these conditions. By August 2012, a record 2000 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in the US with 87 deaths. This disease was unknown in the US before 1998 but is spreading with rising temperatures.

The report’s authors stress that if America fails to act in the global clean energy race other countries may overtake it, citing the example of China which in 2011 surpassed the U.S. to become the largest wind country by nameplate capacity and is set to become the world’s largest wind energy generator sometime soon.

“What we previously considered “extreme” weather is becoming the new norm”, said Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. “The time for an American Clean Revolution is clearly now. This is the only way forward to tackle the devastating effects of runaway climate change, future-proof American infrastructure, and enhance America’s national and energy security. It is also the road to long-term economic growth, job creation and sustainable prosperity for the US. If America doesn’t act now there are others waiting to overtake it in the new clean energy race”.

The American Clean Revolution initiative was launched during this year’s Climate Week NYC, a key international forum on the potential of low-carbon economy, organized in partnership with the City of New York and supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC Business and political leaders from around the world and across the political spectrum including Tony Blair, Prince Albert of Monaco, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, plus conservative commentator Norman Ornstein, came together to call for an American “Clean Revolution” which could grow the US economy by $3 trillion and could create more than 1 million new jobs.

They were joined by a number of CEOs and Chairmen of top companies including Walter Bell, Swiss Re and Zia Eftekhar, Philips Lighting, as well as Rachel Kyte, the World Bank, Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union, Cecil B. Wilson, American Medical Association and Deborah Fikes, World Evangelical Alliance.

Read more about the American Clean Revolution.

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