Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Climate Change Is Costing You Money Right Now

By: Dale Bowling

Well, it's official. 2012 was the hottest year since human beings started keeping track.

One year doesn't mean anything statistically so it's always good to look at the other hot years. Of the
hottest ten years on record, the other nine were all in the last 15 years.

A remarkable coincidence? Not according to climate scientists.

Now the people who find the air a very cheap and convenient place to dump stuff have spent a fraction of that savings (which still works out to millions of dollars) to sew the seeds of doubt about whether humans have caused climate change, whether it's going to have severe effects on us, whether we can do anything about it and whether it wouldn't be so cost-prohibitive as to not be worth doing.

They are aided and abetted by the Media which shies away from taking sides on the issue to prove
their objectivity. In the old days, telling America that 99+% of scientists say one thing while the folks
who have a financial stake in carbon pollution say otherwise would have been considered a necessary
disclosure, but not anymore.

In fact, a recent study showed that on the Sunday morning news shows, which are in theory supposed to inform Americans on policy issues, that no scientist has been quoted about climate change in years. Literally years.

Let's imagine we're talking to people who are totally unmoved by the idea that a hot Earth might not be able to support human life in the future or that in many places in the Third World, climate change is eroding their already precarious standard of living and quality of life. Let's imagine we're talking to only the most self-absorbed.

The bottom line is that climate change is affecting your bottom line. Now and in the future.

By 2020 - just a few years down the road, climate change will cost the average American $1,250 per year.

But wasn't doing something about climate change supposed to be the expensive thing? Well, it
certainly won't be cheap, but the ironic thing is that doing nothing will also be expensive. Here's why.

Remember all the drought we had this year? A huge share of the corn crop failed to produce any cobs
at all. Soy did a bit better, but still had a tough year. This means higher prices at the grocery store.
And not just for corn and soy, because so much of our food supply is derived from them- meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods are all more expensive as a result of this drought.

And at the pump. Ethanol is added to each gallon of gas here in the Land of Lincoln and higher corn
prices mean higher gas prices. Gas prices are down now, but gas goes back above $4/gallon and this becomes a big deal.

Higher costs to industries get passed to consumers. The Timber industry reports a large increase in the number of pests due to earlier springs and later autumns. This makes timber more expensive and this cost gets passed to industries that rely on timber- Construction being most notable, but practically every other one was well. Those costs will be passed to you and me.

Insurance companies already have started paying out more for floods, wildfires, etc and this raises the
price of insurance for everyone.

Also, do you remember how House Republicans failed to bring to a vote a $60 billion dollar aid package for those whose houses, possessions  and infrastructure were washed out to sea by Super
Storm Sandy? The hotter the world's oceans get, the more storms like Sandy we're going to get and
more $60 billion dollar checks that will have to be written.

If you combined the taxpayer money spent on Katrina, Rita, Isaac, Andrew, Hugo, Sandy and the rest in the last 20 years you are talking serious money that you and I have already spent. 

Taxpayers and consumers are paying for the mess climate change is making, but not receiving any
tangible benefits. Those benefits go to industry. The ill affects come down in torrents, but any upside
largely doesn't trickle down to us.

This sounds eerily familiar...

In any case, politicians everywhere need to make managing and reducing climate change's impact on
the environment a major priority. And as a major priority, it requires a major investment of attention and capital.

You're going to pay anyway, you might as well get something for your money.

No comments:

Post a Comment