The costs of climate change

The war over climate change legislation has been waged in part on how much the measure will cost. Some studies suggest American consumers will only have to pony up a few more pennies a day to get their energy from less carbon-intensive sources. Others say the bill will be much higher.

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The administration released a report Tuesday that looks at the issue from another angle: what inaction will mean.

The “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” report found that climate change is already affecting the United States in the form of more heavy downpours, rising temperatures and sea levels, rapidly retreating glaciers and longer growing seasons.

The consequences include fewer water resources, particularly in areas that rely on mountain snowpacks; more erosion on the coasts; and even higher rates of disease.

“The findings released today add urgency to the growing momentum in Congress for legislation that cuts global warming pollution,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).