Dana Nuccitelli: Even though smart climate policies could save tens of trillions of dollars
Last week, the Washington Post procured a White House internal memoranda that debated how the Trump administration should handle federal climate science reports.
The memo presented three options without endorsing any of them: conducting a” red squad/ blue team” exert to” highlight uncertainties in climate science “; more formally reviewing the social sciences under the Administrative Procedure Act; or deciding to only” ignore, and not seek to characterize or question, the science were carried out in Federal agencies and outside entities .”
In short, the White House considered’ debating’ established climate science, casting doubt on scientists’ conclusions, or just ignoring them. Accepting and/ or acting in the conclusions of the scientific experts is not an option they’re willing to consider.
Climate denial is very expensive
Meanwhile, a newspaper published in Nature last week concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5 degC above pre-industrial temperatures would save more than $20 tn as compared to a temperature of 2degC. The carbon pollution cuts needed to achieve the 1.5 degC target would cost about $300 bn more than efforts to meet 2degC. In other words, the economic benefits of the more aggressive target would outweigh its costs by a factor of about 70 -to-1.
Current international climate policies will merely limit global warming to about 3-3. 5degC global warming, and America’s policies are” critically insufficient “~ ATAGEND to meet either the 2degC or 1.5 degC targets. Under the Trump administration, the US has no plans to try and cut its carbon pollution, and in fact the administration has been taking every possible step to undo established climate policies and increase pollution from the coal and oil industries, even though global warming will especially hurt Trump country.
Basically, taking aggressive action to curb global warming would save the world a lot of money, and it would especially benefit the economies in southern, conservative nations. But it wouldn’t be good for the fossil fuel industry, and the Trump administration has prioritized short-term corporate profits above all else, including American welfare and lives.
Ignoring experts is stupid
There’s a 97% expert consensus that humans are causing global warming, and the scientific research is clear that the consequences of continued rapid climate change could be devastating for the economy and for all species on Earth.
The case for the Trump administration approach- ignoring and casting doubt on the conclusions of climate science experts- is that of a bad gambler. It’s not a 100% consensus; perhaps the less than 3% of climate contrarians are onto something. Perhaps the experts are wrong and climate change won’t be so bad.
If the stakes were something inconsequential like a Trump steak, that would be fine, but it should go without saying that betting the future of humanity and life on Earth on a less than 3% long shot is a bad idea. The stakes could not is greater. Prudent risk management dictates that we should be taking serious steps to mitigate the chances of such a disastrous outcome. That’s why Americans buy home and auto and health insurance. It’s why fewer than 17% of Americans today are smokers, down from 42% in 1965.
Saving the Republican Party
Not merely is global warming denial terrible policy, but it’s bad for the long-term health of the Republican Party. There’s a climate change generation gap– most young Americans realize that humans are causing global warming, and young conservatives want their leaders to do something about it. Climate change impacts will only become more severe over day, and today’s youth know that they’ll have to live with the results of our actions today. They simply can’t afford denial, and the GOP hazards losing these voters forever by willfully dismissing the problem that poses an existential menace to young Americans.
There are a few glimmers of hope in the party. Trump’s new Nasa administrator now accepts climate science. Eight House Republicans signed a letter to leaders of the Appropriations Committee urging them to reject any provisions in the 2019 spending bill that would undermine efforts to combat climate change. The conservative Climate Leadership Council proposed a free market, small government, revenue-neutral carbon tax ready to go as soon as the GOP can elect a leadership that’s willing to make a great climate change deal.
But right now the GOP is still stuck being, as Governor Bobby Jindal( R-LA) describing him five years ago,” the stupid party .” Its leadership won’t even consider the possibility that 97% of climate science experts are right. That denial is going to be very expensive, and as Americans increasingly accept the realities of climate change, it will also land the GOP on the endangered species list.
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com