That was the headline over a story last week by Time’s Bryan Walsh, citing this summer’s heat waves and wildfires. The money quote:
“What we see now is what global warming really looks like,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a climate expert and a professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. “The heat, the fires, these kinds of environmental disasters.”
This past week, I had reason to think about climate change–not so much the science but the costs, and how we are planning to pay them. As most of you know, efforts to regulate global warming pollutants have failed, so far, in the US because opponents argue that they will be too costly. “Job-killing climate regulations” was the sound bite. The trouble with this argument is that doing nothing will cost us money, too. Indeed, it already is, although most of those costs are hidden–in places like our premiums for homeowners insurance, our tax bills, or the price we will pay for burgers or chicken.
Put simply, when it comes to climate change, we can pay now or pay later. But we’re going to pay. [click to continue…]