Reminder: It’ll Cost More to Ignore Climate Change Than to Fix It

When conservatives aren’t busy outright denying the existence of climate change, they’ll often point to the economics of addressing the problem as a reason for inaction. It’s simply too expensive to try to save our one habitable planet, you see!

Never mind that no amount of money should be considered “too much” to protect the environment – there’s no such thing as an economy without human survival – it also turns out this line of reasoning is plain wrong.

The Universal Ecological Fund just released a stunning new report, “The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States,” that details just how much we’re already spending on the effects of climate change. Rather than saying we can’t afford to fix climate change, it turns out that from a purely financial perspective we can’t afford not to.

Forget about all the impending devastation to come from global warming – the consequences going on right now are already racking up an enormous bill. At this point, the United States’ economy loses over $240 billion per year because of climate change.

But yes, the compounding effects of the increased temperature and pollution will make it even more costly. Within the next 10 years, that price tag is expected to hit at least $360 billion per year. For context, that’s nearly triple the amount of profit that the five biggest oil companies earn each year combined.

How is the U.S. blowing so much money? There are two big factors:

  • The cost of health care as more and more people get sick or die from air pollution
  • The cost to clean up after natural disasters strike with greater frequency and intensity thanks to higher temperatures

As National Geographic notes, this report’s numbers were crunched prior to the three big hurricanes that took place in recent weeks, which are expected to wind up costing the U.S. about $300 billion themselves.

The longer we fail to address climate change, the more money it will take from the U.S. economy. With each passing month, it’s getting cheaper to utilize renewable energy, and making the shift sooner will be faster.

To help with this shift, “The Economic Case for Climate Action in United States” also makes a pitch for the kind of actions that would stimulate the economy in addition to preserving our planet. That involves:

  • More than doubling solar and wind energy initiatives
  • Expanding carbon capture techniques
  • Relying more on nuclear power
  • Developing alternative energy energies

Remember – although shifting our energy priorities will put some people out of work, the number of jobs that these new industries will create will keep the overall economy thriving.

The people who argue that climate change can’t be addressed without excessive spending are profiting from fossil fuels either directly or indirectly. We have an obligation to keep our global temperature in check, and the figures show that supposed economic concerns are not a good reason to ignore this responsibility.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

75 comments

Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

very true

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

very true

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

very true

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

very true

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bhavin s
bhavin s1 months ago

Thanks for Sharing.

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Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A2 months ago

Thanks for sharing, and Dot is right. These people think they can get all the can and the next generation can deal with the problems caused by the previous ones greed.

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

Interesting comments.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

brian f
BOT from a troll farm !!

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Dot A
Dot A2 months ago

About 30 yrs. ago or more now, as a waitress in a luncheon club that often served the big business clientele, - there is one example of the type of mind-set that let climate change dig deeply into the fiber of all the world's erosion. This man smoked a big stogie cigar, had a billionaires big belly, spoke with arrogance and bragged with great pride of his successes. He had chosen a reclusive area so he could speak as the bodacious lout he deemed rich and worthy of admiration. "Don't worry," he bellowed to his table of 7, "by the time we've wiped out the Amazon, and the air is destroyed," he smiled with a glimmer of con-artistry, "We aren't going to be around anyway!" and ended with the laughter of a wicked greedy unconscionable $$$pig, - which is now the exponential problem still growing from other $$$pigs.

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Angela K
Angela K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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