Friday, October 27, 2006

climate change -- we can pay now, or we can pay later

An upcoming report (to be released Monday) commissioned by Britain's Treasury says that if climate change isn't tackled now, it could cause "the worst global recession in recent history."

A less equivocal word for that would probably be, "depression." Or "complete economic collapse" in the worst case.

It's ironic that the de facto Bush administration hides behind the fact that the economy would (allegedly) suffer from efforts to slash carbon emissions, when it is clear that failure to mitigate climate change could lead to much greater economic damage in the not-so-distant future. Not to mention, in a worst-case scenario, the collapse of modern human civilization. You know, something unpleasant, a scenario where even Halliburton might have a hard time meeting its projections.

Pollution measures are ALWAYS opposed by industry because of the fear of the costs. And the costs have ALWAYS been far, far lower (as much as 90% lower) than the "estimates" by "experts" arguing against the measures. Examples include the cost to reduce airborne particulates in the US in the 1970s, or phasing out CFCs to protect the ozone layer in the 1990s.

There is no reason to think that the same thing -- technological advances resulting from new price signals -- would not also happen with the reduction or elimination of carbon emissions. And the costs of continued "business as usual" inaction are too high to risk for any sane society.


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