Climate Inaction Costs Americans Nearly $3,000 Per Second

February 23rd, 2024

For Immediate Release


Contact: Catherine Gorman |

February 23, 2024


Year of Record-Breaking Disasters Demonstrates Urgent Need for Strong Solutions for Pollution


Washington, DC– Following a year of unprecedented weather and climate disasters, the Climate Action Campaign and other climate advocacy groups today released the updated “Cost of Inaction Ticker” showing that the failure to act on the climate crisis cost Americans $92.9 billion in 2023 or $2,945.84/second – that’s almost the cost of seven months of health insurance for the average American. This total reflects the 28 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters the U.S. experienced in 2023, the most ever recorded in a calendar year and surpassing the previous record set in 2020. These disasters were also exceedingly deadly, causing at least 492 deaths, the 8th most disaster-related fatalities for the contiguous U.S. in the last four decades.


"Every passing moment, the relentless onslaught of climate change inflicts a toll on our environment, our health, and our wallets – to the tune of nearly $3,000 per second. This exorbitant price tag, driven by an unparalleled number of weather and climate disasters, reinforces the urgent need for the Biden Administration to use every tool at their disposal to cut climate pollution,” said Margie Alt, Campaign Director of CAC. “The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Biden in 2022, has provided a glimpse of the progress that can be made, delivering unprecedented investments to confront the escalating climate crisis. However, the Cost of Inaction Ticker shows just how much still needs to be done and the price we pay by failing to act.”


The ticker – first launched in 2022 – uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to calculate the minimum cost of failing to act on climate change. Groups released the updated ticker as part of their Solutions for Pollution campaign calling on President Biden to implement approximately 20 specific pollution protections across federal agencies to meet his promise to cut climate pollution by at least half by 2030. With every second that passes without climate action, Americans face mounting costs.


From superstorms to heat waves to raging wildfires, the impact of extreme weather is already being felt in every corner of the country. Every day that goes by without climate action is estimated to cost at least $254 million, based on recent trends, and the average yearly cost of inaction for the last five years has averaged $120.6 billion or $3,824/second.


The release of the updated ticker comes as 2023 was named the hottest year on record, producing extreme heat, wildfires, and rising sea levels at rates never before seen. These trends call for an increase in urgency for Congress to pass critical investments in climate, justice, jobs, and clean energy.


The Ticker is supported by the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE), Dream Corps Green For All, Earthjustice, Environment America, Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), and United Women in Faith, among others.


To learn more about the Cost of Inaction Ticker, and to see the full list of partner organizations supporting the ticker, click here.



About Solutions for Pollution

CAC launched the Solutions for Pollution campaign in September 2022, with more than 200 advocacy partners, to encourage the Biden administration to use its existing authority under the Clean Air Act and other laws to set the strongest science-based standards to reduce pollution from transportation, power plants, and appliances, and to set additional standards that protect consumers and investors, lower energy costs, and advance environmental justice.


About CAC

Climate Action Campaign (CAC) is a vibrant coalition of advocacy organizations working together to drive ambitious, durable federal action to cut carbon pollution, address the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and accelerate the transition to clean energy. Our goal is to reduce carbon pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy through policies focused on climate, justice, and jobs and expanding opportunity for all.

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