Citibank warns about the cost of climate inaction.

Taking action on climate change is vital to the survival of our species, and it's essential to the economic future of our nation's banks.

According to a new report from Citibank, failure to act on global warming will cost $44 trillion dollars more than investing in low-carbon energy solutions. To create that report, called “Energy Darwinism,” researchers analyzed the likely cost of energy in the coming decades and the cost of the “negative effects” of our changing climate.

Rather than focusing on the state of our environment or the impact on our survival, the report focused solely on the financial aspects of global warming.

Jason Channell, Global Head of Alternative Energy and Cleantech Research at Citibank, said, “What we're trying to do is to take an objective view at the economics of the situation and actually look at what the costs of not acting are, if the scientists are right.” He added, “There is a cost to not doing this, and although there is a cost to acting, what we're trying to do is to actually weigh up the different costs here.”

It doesn't matter whether you believe that humans cause global warming. But it does matter that our planet is changing and we had better get busy figuring out how to cover the cost of surviving those changes.


effie5555 7 years 37 weeks ago

Wish Thom would start adding to his riff on equal pay that this inequality follows women into their retirement to the grave because their Social Security is based on their earnings.

cccccttttt 7 years 37 weeks ago

See no evidence of US planning for any coming climate disasters.

Where are contingency plans to move people away from coastlines?

Who is bulding underground housing in tornado alley?

How will food production and distribution be affected?

Judging from the actions of our wise leaders, any heavy consequences

of climate change will not hit the US until the distant future....


agelbert's picture
agelbert 7 years 37 weeks ago

Ciitbank is right. INACTION costs are real and need to be quantified. But they need to compute who has benefited from that inaction, as well. I am NOT buying the "we are all to blame" baloney used to make us pay for what the banksters did back in 2008 to the tune of 16 TRILLION dollars.

It's high time that the BLAME for the INACTION since the Carter Administration be placed squarely where it belongs: The Fossil Fuel Industry. THEY are the ones who have corrupted our government. THEY are the ones who have degraded our democracy along with the biopshere. THEY are the ones who profited from doing all this, NOT us!

At a RealClimate, a climate sceince web site run by climate scientists, somebody tried to blame the scientists for the general ignorance of the populace about the existential threat that climate change poses to our species.

A scientist responded by making it crystal clear how that ignorance is the result of the mens rea modus operandi of the Fossil Fuel Industry.

Jim Baird: Proposition: the climate science community is failing mankind by overlooking the events that brought on the hiatus.

From your link:

It was scientists who discovered, measured and explained these events but the practical implications seems to have escaped them; with the result policy makers are deprived of the information that would enable them to address climate change with the least cost and to the greatest benefit.

Rebuttal: it is not the climate science community that is failing mankind, but the policy makers who have chosen to ignore the clear and unambiguous advice the climate science community has been offering for years.

In early 2014 the US National Academy of Sciences, established by Congress in 1863 to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science", published a 34-page booklet titled Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, free to download at the link.

It addressed 20 common questions laypeople often have about AGW, including this one:

Q: Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening?

A: No. Since the very warm year 1998 that followed the strong 1997-98 El Niño, the increase in average surface temperature has slowed relative to the previous decade of rapid temperature increases. Despite the slower rate of warming the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s.

A short-term slowdown in the warming of Earth’s surface does not invalidate our understanding of long-term changes in global temperature arising from human-induced changes in greenhouse gases.

The climate science community has provided all the information needed by policy makers to address climate change with the least cost and to the greatest benefit.

It has simply been swamped by the flood of deliberate disinformation issuing from both professional and volunteer AGW-deniers, at the behest of those who’ve accumulated vast private fortunes by socializing the enormous cost of climate change.

Indeed, it is playing into their hands to use ‘hiatus’ or ‘pause’ for what was not a cessation, but at most a slightly-reduced rate, of warming.

It is policy makers who have cravenly allowed themselves to be unduly influenced by the power of fossil-fuel wealth.

In turn, our fellow citizens have allowed their elected representatives to act for the benefit of the few, against the interests of the rest of us.

Every literate person has access to the same information RC readers do, and has the choice to accept or deny it. Let us assign the blame to whom it belongs: we have the government we deserve.

Agelbert NOTE: I agree with the all of the rebuttal, EXCEPT the last sentence. THIS is the way it should read: Let us assign the blame to whom it belongs: The Fossil Fuel Industry BECAUSE THEY are the ones who have CORRUPTED our government.

We DID NOT deserve that. It was, and is, a crime.

Blaming the VICTIM is not justice; it is socializing the blame. I'm certain the fossil fuel industry would be quite happy if the "we are all to blame" meme, so favored by Wall Street Bankers since 2008, enabled them to EXTERNALIZE the blame along with the environmental costs.

The Fossil Fuelers DID THE Climate Trashing, human health depleteing CRIME, but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID DOING THE TIME or PAYING THE FINE! Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!

KCRuger's picture
KCRuger 7 years 37 weeks ago

Meteorologist Scott Stephens says there has been no global warming for 17 years & the west coast drought is Gov't-produced with chemtrails. Citibank couldn't care less about Earth's future condition; they're selling carbon trading just like Al Gore. Sorry, Thom, you might be the best out there, but you're dead wrong about several things, & this is one of them.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 37 weeks ago
Quote KCRuger:Meteorologist Scott Stephens says there has been no global warming for 17 years & the west coast drought is Gov't-produced with chemtrails. Citibank couldn't care less about Earth's future condition; they're selling carbon trading just like Al Gore. Sorry, Thom, you might be the best out there, but you're dead wrong about several things, & this is one of them.

KCRuger ~ One (ahem) "Meteorologist" makes a wild speculating claim and all of a sudden were supposed to reject the findings of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change). Sorry buddy. Somebody here IS dead wrong; and, it sure isn't Thom Hartmann.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 37 weeks ago

Time to redirect the trillions we spend on the rich man's endless war for profit to the real battleground, the war on global warming, or we can wait for extreme water and food shortages ......see what kind of hell that leads us into to.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 37 weeks ago

I took a look at that report. What a schlock piece of garbage. Thom's stooping to a new low getting his energy & environment information from Citigroup aka Rockefeller Global Elite Banksters, Oil Barons and Drug Warriors. Compared to them, the Koch bros. look like my fairy godmother.

This is obviously another Bankster/Big Oil bait-and-switch scam, promoting non-solutions, namely carbon capture, wind & solar and geoengineering. Non-solutions are even worse than "Let's just continue business as usual". Result is the same: rapid, uncontrolled climate change, except the non-solutions throw $trillions down the sewer on nutty scams that just push up energy prices but don't harm the rich, as usual the burden is dumped upon the poor and middle class.

Just take a look at their electricity analysis and wacky claims about wind and solar economics:

Assumed 100% wind & solar emissions displacement. That is a blatantly false.

Ignored the abysmally low Energy Return ond Energy Invested or EROI of Wind & Solar, which in itself is a deal-breaker for wind & solar energy.

Ignored the severe geographical limitations of wind & solar. Blindly assumed you can install them anywhere, just ridiculous. There are major constraints on where you can install wind & solar and costs will escalate drastically as the low hanging fruit = where current installations are focused are saturated. There are many areas with monsoons, rainy seasons, snowy, cold winters with little sunlight, heavily forested, poor wind resource regions, too heavily populated areas, lack of available land, sand storms, mostly cloudy weather, ecologically sensitive areas - the list is long.

Ignored curtailment costs.

Ignored overbuild costs.

Ignored long distance transmission costs of wind & solar which must be oversized by 3-10X.

Ignored negative priced exports of suplus wind & solar generation.

Ignored storage costs for wind & solar.

Ignored decommissioning, recycling & disposal costs.

Ignored the cost of the 100% backup power generation and peaking fuel storage & distribution infrastructure required for wind & solar electricity generation.

Ignored induced cycling inefficiency costs and thereupon increased carbon emissions associated with wind & solar generation.

Ignored grid integration costs, i.e. fast response battery banks and spinning reserve.

Ignored the short lifespan of wind turbines 12-15 yrs and solar pv of 25 yrs.

Ignored the reduction in wind resource due to increased wind farm operation and climate change will change areas with good wind resources.

ignored increased carbon emissions due to intermittent wind & solar changing grid economics in favor of high carbon sources like OCGT instead of CCGT and Diesel instead of super-critical Coal and Fossil instead of Nuclear & conventional Hydro.

Way under-reported O&M costs for Wind & Solar and especially increased maintenance costs and reduced output in last 1/3rd of lifespan.

Cherry picked Wind farm costs so as to falsely appear to be trending downwards, when in fact the opposite is true. Furthermore they admitted more wind must move to Offshore at a much higher cost but only based their projected costs on Onshore Wind.

Assumed a continuing downward drop in Solar PV installed costs whereas in fact that cost is stabilizing and likely will begin to trend upwards within a few years.

Ignored storage costs for wind & solar.

On the plus side, the report did correctly document that climate change will add considerable costs to the world economy, far outweighing the cost to prevent the change in the first place. Especially since we will sooner or later have to make those changes anyway, as cheap fossil fuels will become to scarce to meet demand.

Problem is we need Real Solutions, not Scams. Wind & solar in fact locks us into a fossil fuel future. They cannot exist without a mostly fossil fuel world economy.

The predominant Real Solution is of course a rapid build-out of Nuclear Energy. Nuclear energy has no need of fossil fuels and indeed in volume will be cheaper and much safer than fossil fuels. Which of course is why these Citigroup Bankster/Oil barons either oppose it or try to ignore it.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 36 weeks ago

IRV -- Where do you get all the time to spend on the details of nuclear energy? Are you receiving any financial incentive?

I am working on a rebuttal of almost every single item on your defense of nuclear, but it takes lots of time.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 36 weeks ago

IRV -- You do realize that you have used numbers from BP to support some of your statements. To paraphrase you, Citigroup looks like a fairy godmother compared to BP.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 36 weeks ago

@ chuckle8 that BP data is easily verified at IEA or EIA or even Wikipedia, BP just packages it in a more easy to view format. There are often slight discrepancies between BP or Exxon or CIA energy data or Wikipedia sources, but they are not significant enough to change the argument. I Most Definitely am NOT relying on BP for any sort of Energy Opinion or their plan for the World Energy Future.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 36 weeks ago

BTW, I don't know where people get the idea Big Oil is opposed to Solar & Wind. They are the biggest promoters of solar & wind, they know very well wind & solar = burn more oil, gas and coal. It even has a name, Solar and Wind cause "Fossil Fuel Lock-In". And BP used to call itself Beyond Petroleum and advertised itself as shifting to renewable energy (until the laughter became to intense and they had to drop the charade from their advertising & disinformation budget). With two subdivisions BP Wind & BP Solar - no mention of Nuclear, no BP nuclear. Nuclear is their REAL COMPETITION. And the eight big Banking families, including Rockefellers/Citigroup, control BP, Exxon, Shell & Chevron.

And to answer your question, I don't get one dime from the Nuclear industry, and have never worked in Nuclear. In fact I ain't pro-Nuclear, I'm pro Rational Energy Policy. Anything better than nuclear comes along, I would drop my support for nuclear energy in one second.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 35 weeks ago

IRV -- I like your reply. I guess you just have more human energy than me.

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