Catastrophic Prognosis Adds Weight to Energy Incentives

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That’s the percentage of climate scientists surveyed by the journal Nature who expect to see “catastrophic impacts” from climate change in their lifetimes and one reason why U.S. lawmakers are drafting legislation that would better incent households to switch their homes and cars to renewable energy.

Democratic lawmakers drafting a $1.75 trillion government spending plan want to create or expand several programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global climate change. These include a tax credit allowing a middle-class family to save $12,500 on an American-made, union-built electric car and a subsidy to make it 30% less expensive to install rooftop solar panels on a home. President Joe Biden, who attended the COP26 U.N. climate summit in Britain last week, said those measures, if approved by Congress, would help the U.S. meet its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The journal sent surveys to the 233 living authors of a landmark report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published this August, publishing the results from the 92 who responded last week.

Climate change will lead to more extreme hot weather, more droughts, rising sea levels, more intense storms, and other potentially disastrous outcomes, according to the U.N.’s August report—all of which could cost the economy $1.7 trillion a year by 2025, if the warming trend continues.

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