The past 8 years saw a well-coordinated assault on climate change research and results. Deniers were prevalent across the landscape, citing authors of fiction and “studies” funded by the fossil fuel industry as evidence that global warming wasn’t occurring. Some began shifting to delaying tactics: even if global warming was occurring, there was nothing we could do about it (wrong). Industry wanted no action on climate change because it would likely mean a reduction in profit and executive compensation. Conservatives have that name because they like policies and business the way they are – anything different or change frightens them, regardless of how necessary those changes are.
Now that the economy has gone down the drain and Barack Obama has been elected President, the delayers are trying to set the tone for his early efforts to address climate change. They’re now claiming that the failing economy is the primary reason why no effort can be made on the issue of climate change. Indeed, they’re going so far as to say that the poor state of the economy demands additional drilling and development of new nuclear (fission) energy.
This reflects corporate America’s narrow focus on the next quarter’s performance instead of the next 10 year’s performance. Here is the problem in a nutshell: delaying action will only increase future costs of adaptation and mitigation. Pennies that corporations save today by ignoring the costs of climate change will cost them dollars tomorrow. Additionally, municipalities have already saved money and created new jobs by addressing the problem. The exact opposite from what delayers are saying has happened? Yes. I’ll say it again: instead of costing more money and jobs, improving efficiency and diversifying energy portfolios have saved money and created jobs.
The very real threats of increased desertification, rising sea levels and geopolitical destabilization are being pooh-poohed by business “leaders”, especially in the U.S. If those threats come to pass, do you think businesses will deal with the costs they helped cause? A quick look at the trillions of dollars being given away to irresponsible financial and automotive corporations provides a quick answer: of course not. Corporations are all too happy to privatize profit and socialize loss. As much as that irritates me, I accept that pushing for climate change solutions will actually help businesses stay profitable.