Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Cap and Trade Expenses Overblown

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Critics (ideologically driven climate change deniers, mostly) have said that a carbon cap and trade program is too expensive (additional posts on this to follow).  One critical fact these short-sighted do-nothings are purposefully not talking about is that we have already spent billions on the effects of global warming, and it will only get worse.  Indeed, if the deniers have their way and we do nothing, the expenses on our society, what I will start terming the Cons’ Climate Tax, will get much, much worse.

I submit the following three examples for consideration:
– We have lost $1.3 billion as a result of crop loss from Georgia’s drought in 2007.
– It cost $300 million to repair rail transportation after Hurricane Katrina.
– We spent $272 million in 2007 as a result of increasing flood damage.

Those examples don’t include droughts in the rest of the country, wildfires, loss of viable timber, etc.

Is that not convincing enough? Okay, how about this: Four global warming impacts alone — hurricane damage, real estate losses, energy costs, and water costs — will come with a price tag of 1.8% U.S. GDP, or almost $1.9 trillion annually (in today’s dollars) by 2100.  The total cost will cost 3.6% of U.S. GDP.  Contrast that with the cost of a cap and trade program: The median projected impact of climate policy is less than one-half of one percent of U.S. GDP for the period 2010-2030, and under three-quarters of one percent through the middle of the century.

A growing body of studies are clearly demonstrating the damage the Cons’ Climate Tax would introduce to our society.  Unsurprisingly, their concern over deficit spending when it comes to American interests is as false as anything else they’re “concerned” about.  If they were concerned with the costs we’re passing along to future genertions, they would whole-heartedly embrace a carbon cap-and-trade program.  We can spend a few hundred billion dollars for a few years now and alleviate future climate change impacts.  Or we can push this problem off to the next generation and they can pay $4 trillion annually to deal with the effects.

But every time a Con gets to talk to the corporate media, they should be required to explain why taxing future generations for health care isn’t alright, but taxing them for climate change (or the occupation of Iraq or ever-increaing war budgets) is.  Either they’re fiscal hawks or they’re talking point recorders.  Talking point recorders don’t have any business deciding policy.


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