Obama budget chief: 'Climate denial' will cost the US billions

President Obama's budget director on Friday said "denial" of climate change will eventually cost the United States "billions of dollars."

Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules MORE, delivering his first speech as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), put the focus on an issue not normally associated with the dollars and cents of the federal budget.

"Climate action is tremendously important to me," Donovan said.

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"As OMB Director, due to the wide-ranging effects that climate change is having — and will continue to have — it’s critical to our ability to operate and fund the government in a responsible manner," Donovan said at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

The administration is putting climate change front and center ahead of Obama's speech at a United Nations summit next week, where world leaders will discuss action on the issue.

The White House is running a "full court press" on climate change ahead of the summit, and Donovan said the administration's push is just beginning.

He said climate change has huge implications for the federal budget, and said OMB will have to take those costs into account in the years ahead.

"Climate denial scores … I mean that it scores in the budget — climate denial will cost us billions of dollars."

Donovan said he will bring the "analytical rigor" of OMB to "bear in ensuring the federal budget and the management of federal programs and resources are as ambitious and effective as they can be in tackling this defining challenge of our time."

Donovan said he sees OMB getting involved in tacking climate action in three ways: Make sure science is at the heart of the work, provide enough data to make smart decisions and investments, and utilize OMB's ability to coordinate across agencies.

"Inaction on climate change is not an option for this president — and it is not an option for me," Donovan said.

Obama has made climate change a defining issue for his second term, and is seeking to tackle the issue with new rules limiting emissions from power plants.

Opponents of Obama's climate agenda argue the proposals would devastate the economy and kill critical energy jobs.

Republicans in Congress also blasted Obama's budget request for a $1 billion climate fund to aid communities dealing with negative weather brought on by global warming.