Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why bother addressing global warming?

A lot of global warming skeptics argue that, even if global warming is real, we shouldn't worry about it. We will, they argue, find some technology to take care of the problem. Any measures we take to control the emissions of greenhouse gases is likely to be expensive, damage the economy and destroy jobs. So, they argue.

This, of course, is just the silliest of arguments. If the measures are expensive that means money is being spent on something. If we are spending money on something that means jobs are being created. You cannot say money is being spent and jobs are being lost at the same time. The money has to be going somewhere.

I've heard measures to control emissions compared to fire insurance. You may never experience a home fire, but you probably buy fire insurance, just in case. Have you ever looked at the numbers? According to a poll by the Insurance Institute, 97% of all homes in the country have fire protection, yet the rate of claims for "Fire, lightning and debris removal" is only .49 homes per 100 per year. The chance of a house fire is less than 1/2 of one percent per year. (To be completely accurate, this was also, by far, the category with the biggest claims.) Most of those fires probably occurred in homes that did not take proper fire prevention measures. While I don't know it for a fact, I think it is safe to assume that houses with good fire prevention in place have fewer fires than those that don't. But, they still pay for fire insurance.

The probability that global warming is going to result in detrimental results is much, much greater than 1/2 of one percent. In fact, we are already experiencing bad effects as a result. Crop sizes are smaller than they would have been without global warming, adding to upward pressure on food prices. Utility usage is up due to warmer temperatures, again adding to upward price increases. Storms are more frequent and more severe, adding to insurance rates. The list goes on. The fact is, we are already paying (literally!) for global warming.

But, there are people out there that say we shouldn't worry about insurance.

So, let me see, if we deal with global warming we will lower costs, create jobs, improve our standard of living, feed more people and increase our longevity.

Tell me again why we shouldn't deal with emissions?

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