Climate change is making extreme weather more frequent and intense. In 2022, we experienced 18 storms that cost $1 billion or more. Under this measurement alone, the cost of climate inaction is at least $5,230 per second. Every second that passes costs us in dollars, lives lost, harm to our environment, and missed opportunities.
Our climate can’t wait!
This ticker shows the cost-per-second of extreme weather events that cause more than $1 billion in damage. Because of climate change, extreme weather disasters are expected to become more frequent and intense. Every day that goes by without climate action is estimated to cost the United States at least $452 million, based on recent trends.
Compared to last year (2021), the cost of inaction on climate has increased by nearly $530 per second. This steep rise drives home the urgent need for bold action on climate; it means President Biden has no time to waste in meeting his commitments on climate.
A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration details some of the costs of inaction. The storms, droughts, and wildfires totaled more than $165 billion and led to at least 474 deaths. At one point in 2022, more than 60% of the continental United States was under official drought conditions.
Over 42 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 live in America, and will suffer the consequences of the climate crisis and the impacts of climate pollution their entire lives if we don't act on climate now.
This is why the Biden administration must use all of its existing authority to set the strongest possible standards to save lives, advance environmental justice, protect our environment, and improve our public health. While the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) delivered the most significant climate investments in history, it didn't go far enough in addressing environmental justice. This is why President Biden must implement the strongest possible solutions for pollution to protect our health and environment, and begin lowering the cost of climate inaction.
Projected cost for 2023: $165,000,000,000 or $5,232.11/second
$5,232.11 is more than the average cost of 7 months of car payments
Average monthly car payments cost $717 for new cars and $563 for used cars. [CBS, 1/6/23]
$5,232.11 is more than the average cost of 2 months of rent
Average listed rent in the U.S. was $2,495 per month. [CNBC, 8/2/22]
$5,232.11 is roughly equivalent to 10 months of health insurances costs for the average American
The average American spent $5,260 on health insurance over 10 months. [Forbes, 1/2/23]
$5,232.11 is more than one year tuition at an in-state public community college
The average annual cost for attending an in-state public community college is $3,860 [CNBC, accessed, 10/24/22]
$5,232.11 is more than the average cost of 6 months of childcare
Infant Childcare costs over $848 a month per child. [CNBC, 2/21/22]
Billion Dollar Events
Using NOAA data on billion-dollar disasters we can estimate the dollars spent on responding to extreme events and the number of lives lost.
The average cost over the past five years is estimated to be $119.1 billion lost per year.
In the first quarter of 2022, NOAA estimated that the average cost of billion-dollar extreme weather events was $144 billion per year from 2020-2022. Although the amounts vary from year to year, for the purposes of the ticker, we are assuming that the average cost of these events is likely to hover close to the average in 2022. To represent the constant, ongoing threat of climate or weather disasters, the ticker counts up at a rate of $5.232.11 per second ($165 billion divided by 31,536,000, which is the number of seconds in a year).
This visual representation DOES NOT include all available cost data. For example, health-related costs are not included. The ticker is a representation of the baseline cost of inaction; it is not intended to be a real-time, precise calculation.
Billion $ Weather Event Costs
Weather Event Deaths
TOTAL SINCE 2018
Cost of Inaction Campaign Partners
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE)
Change the Chamber*Lobby for Climate
Dream Corps Green For All
Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE)
United Women in Faith