White House: Action needed now to slow climate change

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Failure to act on climate change could cause an estimated 57,000 deaths in the United States from poor air quality by 2100, the Obama administration argued in a new report Monday that warns of dire effects of global warming.

The report underscores the costs of inaction on climate change as well as the benefits from taking action now. The administration estimates that 12,000 people in 49 U.S. cities could die from extreme temperatures in 2100.

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White House: Action needed now to slow climate change
President Barack Obama speaks about Earth Day while visiting Everglades National Park, Fla., Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Obama visited the Everglades on Earth Day to talk about how global warming threatens the U.S. economy. He says rising sea levels are putting the "economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry" at risk. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, gentoo penguins stand on a rock near station Bernardo O'Higgins, Antarctica. The melting of Antarctic glaciers as a consequence of global warming is concerning scientists as this contributes to rising sea levels which will eventually reshape the planet. The rising of sea levels will affects at least a billion people worldwide. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Jimmy Hall, of Mill Creek, Ky., wears a button advocating for the environment as he attends a rally outside an Environmental Protection Agency hearing, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Utility and coal companies are expected to argue Tuesday against proposals from the Obama administration that would force a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030 from 2005 levels. The EPA is holding three public hearings on the proposal in Atlanta, Denver and Washington. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
FILE - In this Feb. 4 2014 file photo, a warning buoy sits on the dry, cracked bed of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah, Calif. As bad as the drought in California and the Southwest was last year and in the Midwest a couple years ago, scientists say far worse historic decades-long dry spells are coming. “Unprecedented drought conditions” _ the worst in more than 1,000 years _ are likely to come to the Southwest and Central Plains near the end of this century and stick around because of global warming, according to a new study in the journal Science Thursday. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
A group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty December 10, 2014 near the United Nations in New York. New Yorkers gathered to demand that world governments address the serious threat global warming poses to human rights. This event coincides with a UN meeting in Lima, Peru, a part of the 2014-15 negotiations for a global climate treaty. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
JOLIET, IL - MAY 07: Traffic backs up at an intersecton in front of NRG Energy's Joliet Station power plant on May 7, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois. According to scientists, global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have reached a new monthly record of 400 parts per million, levels that haven't been seen for about two million years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports the combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest single source of CO2 emissions in the United States, followed by the burning of fossil fuels for transportation. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
In this Jan. 31, 2015 photo, mangroves stand on an island in the Sundarbans, India. The freshwater swamps and their tangles of mangrove forests acts as a crucial, natural buffer protecting India's West Bengal state and Bangladesh from cyclones. With global warming already a reality for some 13 million impoverished villagers living precariously on the river deltas that spill into the Bay of Bengal, the ecologically sensitive and overpopulated Sundarbans is ground zero for climate change, and a test for how they will cope with warmer temperatures, rising seas and potentially millions of climate refugees. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Birds fly past at sun set as smoke emits from a chimney at a factory in Ahmadabad, India, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. The momentum from a historic U.S.-China pact to resist global warming is showing signs of fading at the U.N. climate talks in Peru as the familiar rich-poor conflict persists over who should do what to keep the planet from overheating. The conference's high-level phase begins Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
A canyon cuts through the Andes mountains in Peru, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. The momentum from a historic U.S.-China pact to resist global warming is showing signs of fading at the U.N. climate talks in Peru, as the familiar rich-poor conflict persists over who should do what to keep the planet from overheating. Time remains to work things out as environment ministers are just starting to arrive. The conference’s high-level phase begins Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
A woman wearing a mask to protect herself from pollutants stands on a pedestrian bridge as buildings at Beijing's Central Business District are shrouded in haze Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. China National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua told reporters Tuesday that China will increase use of renewable energy and rely less on coal to ensure it meets its carbon emissions peak in 2030, as a new United Nations report warned the world is failing to prevent dangerous levels of global warming. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Oct. 17, 2014, file photo, a thick blanket of smoke is seen against the setting sun as young ragpickers search for reusable material at a garbage dump in New Delhi, India. India launched the Air Quality Index Friday to measure air quality across the nation that is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. A groundbreaking agreement struck Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, by the United States and China puts the world's two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2014 file photo, a woman takes a walk under the scorching sun in Tokyo. Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made global warming on more than half of them. Researchers found that climate change increased the odds of nine extremes: Heat waves in Australia, Europe, China, Japan and Korea, intense rain in parts of the United States and India, and severe droughts in California and New Zealand. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)
The coal-fired Plant Scherer is shown in operation early Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Juliette, Ga. The Obama administration unveiled a plan Monday to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, in a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/John Amis)
FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, a parking lot full of yellow cabs in Hoboken, N.J. is flooded as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Global warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy, sneezy and dangerous, according to the National Climate Assessment report released Tuesday, May 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)
The sun rises in east Beijing behind a smokestack chimney dwarfed by the capital's tallest skyscraper, the China World Trade Tower 3 (C) at the break of day on March 25, 2010. China has surpassed the United States as the top investor in clean energy with the rising Asian power becoming a 'powerhouse' in the emerging field, a study by environmentalists said as China has shown determination to be on the frontline of green technology, while US investors have been put off by uncertainties amid the legislative battle on climate change. China has also overtaken the United States as the top emitter of carbon blamed for global warming and came under fire for its role in December's much-criticized UN climate summit in Copenhagen, but the study found that China had made a strategic decision to invest in wind and solar technologies as it copes with sharply rising demand for energy, and has set some of the world's most ambitious targets on renewable energy. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo taken through a window, a scientist collects samples outside near Chile's station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica. The first explorers set foot in Antarctica hunting 19th-century riches of whale and seal oil and fur. Since then, the continent has proven a treasure chest for scientists trying to determine everything from the creation of the cosmos to how high seas will rise with global warming. “It’s a window out to the universe and in time,” said Kelly Falkner, polar program chief for the U.S. National Science Foundation. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
FILE - This Feb. 7, 2014, file photo shows the cracked-dry bed of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose, Calif. Global warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy, sneezy and dangerous, according to a new federal scientific report. And those shining seas? Rising and costly, the report says. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Wildfire smoke masks the sun as it sets over a ridge Saturday, June 22, 2013, near South Fork, Colo. Global warming is rapidly turning America into a stormy and dangerous place, with rising seas and disasters upending lives from flood-stricken Florida to the wildfire-ravaged West, according to a new U.S. federal scientific report released Tuesday, May 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
In this Tuesday, June 11, 2013, photo, lower Manhattan is visible from the Staten Island Ferry, in New York's Upper Bay. Giant removable floodwalls would be erected around lower Manhattan, and levees, gates and other defenses could be built elsewhere around the city under a nearly $20 billion plan proposed Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to protect New York from storms and the effects of global warming. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 file photo, Mike Brown of Boston cross country skis past snow-covered cars through the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston. Scientists point to both scant recent snowfall in parts of the country and this month's whopper of a Northeast blizzard as potential signs of global warming. It may seem like a contradiction, but the explanation lies in atmospheric physics. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2012 file photo, an Indian farmer shows a dry, cracked paddy field in Ranbir Singh Pura 34 kilometers (21 miles) from Jammu, India. A United Nations panel of scientists has drafted a list of eight ``key risks” about climate change that’s easy to understand and illustrates the issues that have the greatest potential to cause harm to the planet. The list is part of a massive report on how global warming is affecting humans and the planet and how the future will be worse unless something is done about it. The report is being finalized at a meeting on the weekend of March 29, 2014 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 file photo, cattle walk in a dusty pasture in rural Parker County near Springtown, Texas. Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds. Belief and worry about climate change are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing faster among people who don't often trust scientists on the environment. In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their own eyes as they've watched thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
Graphic shows poll results on public opinions about global warming
Laborers walk past a ferry sporting a banner on climate change on the Brahmaputra River in Gauhati, India, Thursday, Dec. 17 2009. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday his country would do even more than it has already promised to fight global warming if it had more financial aid. Disagreements between developing and developed countries, especially between China and the United States, which together emit about 40 percent of the world's heat-trapping greenhouse gases, have hindered progress at the talks, which many say will end without a deal. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2009 file photo, demonstrators hold a picture of President Barack Obama and signs during a demonstration outside the Bella Center, the venue of the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the first-ever regulations aimed at reducing the gases blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
Graphic shows how geoengineering can reduce global warming
FILE - In this March 22, 2012 file photo, a pumpjack is silhouetted against the setting sun in Oklahoma City. On June 2, 2014, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said an Environmental Protection Agency plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants hampers the ability of states to devise their own ways to make the cuts. The plan suggests a 35 percent reduction of carbon emissions in Oklahoma by 2030. The state derives more than half its energy from natural gas and roughly 38 percent from coal. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
FILE- In this April 22, 2011, file photo, a man looks out at smog covering central London from Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath in London. A groundbreaking agreement struck Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, by the United States and China puts the world's two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
FILE - In this March 16, 2011 file photo, steam escapes from Exelon Corp.'s nuclear plant in Byron, Ill. Companies that generate electric power with anything other than coal _ and companies that produce cleaner fuels or efficiency technologies _ are likely to benefit from the Obama Administration’s new proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. (AP Photo/Robert Ray, File)
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The report comes as Republicans in Congress seek to undo the administration's environmental policies, including an expected plan by the Environmental Protection Agency to target coal-fired power plants, and days after Pope Francis issued a dire warning about global warming's consequences, especially for the poor and under-developed nations.

The White House report is part of a week-long effort to emphasize climate change to mark the two-year anniversary of a "climate action plan" announced by President Barack Obama.

While the most severe effects of global warming would not be felt for decades, the Obama administration said decisions about climate change need to be made now.

"Decisions are not going to wait 50 years," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a White House briefing "They are today's decisions."

McCarthy called the report "a wake-up call for some who may not be aware" of the potential damages of climate change.

The report says actions to slow climate change could save about $3.1 billion in expected costs from sea-level rise and storm surge in 2100, while the power sector could save as much as $34 billion by 2050 in avoided costs for additional electricity for air conditioning and other uses.

An estimated $3 billion in avoided damages from poor water quality could be saved by 2100, the report said.

Brian Deese, a senior White House adviser, said Obama was "not going to accept efforts" by Republicans in Congress and others who oppose his climate strategy. He urged critics to read the report to see for themselves the potentially dire consequences of global warming.

The Republican-controlled House is expected to vote this week on a bill to scale back the plan on coal-fired power plants, the centerpiece of Obama's second-term push to act on climate change as a key part of his environmental legacy.

The bill would allow states to opt out of the plan if the governor determines it would cause significant rate hikes for electricity or harm reliability of service in the state. The bill also would delay the rule until all court challenges are completed.

The House also is expected to take up a separate spending bill that would bar the EPA from enforcing the power plant rules, cut the agency's budget and attack other prominent EPA regulations on air and water pollution.

Obama has managed to thwart GOP efforts in the past, but Republicans are renewing their efforts now that they control the Senate as well as the House.

The United States has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent as its contribution to a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change. The U.S. and other countries that account for more than half of total carbon pollution from the energy sector have announced plans to combat climate change beginning after 2020, Deese said.

Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this story.

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