Thursday, October 2, 2014

More Evidence Climate Change is Bad For Us

For years the denier industry worked as hard as it could to convince people that global warming wasn't happening. Then, when it became indisputable, they tried to convince people that it is just a natural cycle. Now that its clear it is due to manmade emissions, their tactic is to tell people that it is actually good for us. That is as much a lie as everything else they say and the evidence is turning into a mountain. Here are a few examples.

The White House budget director, Shaun Donovan, recently gave a speech at the Center for American Progress and detailed the economic costs associated with global warming, stating,
"From where I sit, climate action is a must do; climate inaction is a can’t do; and climate denial scores – and I don’t mean scoring points on the board. I mean that it scores in the budget. Climate denial will cost us billions of dollars."
Here are some of the costs associated with global warming:
  • Reducing GDP by roughly $150 billion a year if warming reaches 3° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, instead of an international target of 2°. Global output could suffer by roughly 0.9 percent. As Donovan said, as we all learned during the Great Recession, "even a small reduction in real GDP growth can dramatically reduce Federal revenue, drive up our deficits, and impact the government’s ability to serve the public."
  • It is estimated that damages due to changes in hurricane activity will result in an annual increase of $7 billion in damages to the East and Gulf Coasts, bringing the annual price tag up to $35 billion per year. 
  • Wildfires expenses has tripled since 1999 and is now averaging over $3.5 billion per year. 
  • The 2012 drought cost the country $30 billion. The current drought in California will cost that state an estimated $2.2 billion and 17,000 jobs. 
  • Crop insurance, paid for with tax payer dollars, is three times higher than previously estimated, about $2.6 billion this year. That figure was more than $17 billion after the drought in 2012. 

That totals up to more than $15 billion per year, without counting the future loss of GDP. That comes out to over $50 per per person, or $200 per family of four. If you include the GDP loss that comes out to about $2200 for a family of four. Every year. Make that annual check out to your favorite billionaire.

Keep that checkbook handy. This is only one example.

The Norwegian Refugee Council report on people displaced by disasters stated that 22 million people were displaced in 119 countries by natural disasters in 2013, almost three times as many as were displaced by conflict and violence.These disasters included events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but weather related events accounted for over 94% of the displacements, including 218,500 displaced in Oklahoma due to tornadoes. Droughts are a major cause of displacement and reports indicate there is a displacement underway in California due to the drought there.

The risk of displacement has more than doubled since the 1970s. This is due to many factors. The world population has nearly doubled since the 1970s and urban population is nearly 200% higher. That last figure is over 300% for developing countries. This means there are more people at risk. Better preparation means more of the people affected by disasters survive, leaving them to be displaced. Data collection has improved. But, the report also says climate change is a factor in the increase and is expected to cause more frequent extreme weather events in the future.

I'm not sure how you would figure out how much each of us will have to pay because of the increase in people displaced due to climate change. Maybe some of those people in Oklahoma or California can let us know how much its has cost them and we can figure it out. Then, we can all write a check to our favorite billionaire.

And, here is a list of eight major companies that ClimateProgress reports have included risks due to climate change in their annual reports to shareholders: Chipotle, Keurig Green Mountain, Michael Foods Group, Heinz, Big Heart Pet Brands, Omega Protein, Coca-Cola, and Marine Harvest ASA.

The risks mentioned vary from small to significant. But, they all add up to the potential for increased expenses that will be passed down to the consumer.

Make that check out to your favorite billionaire. You know the one, the one financing the denier organizations that are working as hard as possible to block any action to stop climate change while telling you that global warming is good for you.

Send a thank-you note with that check.

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