Letter writer: Look to the economics of climate change

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Those “naive” climate change “believers” [in Michael Ivey’s July 8 letter, “Climate-change Believers Betray Their Naiveté”] include the National Academy of Sciences and every other scientific body of national or international standing. You can see a list of all 230 of them on NASA’s website; but political affiliation trumps scientific data for most people, so let’s look at the economics.

Clean energy, the solution to climate change, will give us lower energy bills, millions of jobs and lower taxes. Over 2,500 major economists agree, nine of them with Nobel Prizes.

The volunteer group Citizens’ Climate Lobby is working to get a conservative, revenue-neutral, market-based clean energy bill passed in Congress that would create 4 million U.S. jobs in the first year and 9 million jobs in nine years. Our GDP would increase $70 billion annually by 2020 — a $1.375 trillion increase in 20 years (REMI). In contrast, the projected costs of climate change, barring swift action, will soon be over $1 trillion annually, according to the U.S. Government Climate Assessment.

The CCL’s clean energy bill would make all fossil-fuel corporations pay an escalating carbon pollution fee and 100 percent of that money would be given to every American, monthly, in equal amounts.

As coal, oil and natural gas become increasingly more expensive than renewables, most people will take their monthly dividend checks and buy cheaper clean energy. In terms of real income per capita, the average American will have more money every year in pocket. British Columbia has successfully employed this plan for seven years.

A steadily increasing import fee on goods from carbon-polluting countries like China will protect American businesses, making U.S. goods more affordable, while forcing China to lower its emissions.

We’d also reduce the annual U.S. death toll (60,000) from carbon pollution and the associated medical costs — approximately $886.5 billion yearly, or 6 percent of GDP annually (Forbes).

— Lynn Goldfarb
Lancaster, Pa.

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8 thoughts on “Letter writer: Look to the economics of climate change

  1. The Moral Case for Fossil Fuel
    What does it mean to be moral? This is an involved philosophical question, but for our purposes I will say: an activity is moral if it is fundamentally beneficial to human life. By that standard, is the fossil fuel industry moral? The answer to that question is a resounding yes. By producing the most abundant, affordable, reliable energy in the world, the fossil fuel industry makes every other industry more productive—and it makes every individual more productive and thus more prosperous, giving him a level of opportunity to pursue happiness that previous generations couldn’t even dream of. Energy, the fuel of technology, is opportunity—the opportunity to use technology to improve every aspect of life. Including our environment..

    • Lynn Goldfarb

      By eliminating the burning of fossil fuels we can save over three million lives otherwise lost from carbon pollution alone. (Nature-The world’s most highly-respected peer-reviewed science journal)

      • Jim

        LOL, you mean eliminating it here while the rest of world looks at this country and is dumbfounded because it’s literally gone to hell in a hand basket.

        It ain’t happening because people like you think punishing people on one end then tossing money on the other does not work. Want green energy? Invent a viable and cheap alternative.

  2. The world’s most highly-respected peer-reviewed science journal is wrong. It is the ABSENCE of fossil fuels that would result in massive death and misery.

    Increased fossil fuel use correlates with every positive metric of human well-being, from life expectancy to income to nourishment to clean water access to safety. The last few decades demonstrate this trend most clearly. Fossil fuel usage has been steadily growing across the world. Developing countries like China and India have driven that growth more than any other countries, using fossil fuels to power their economies. At the same time, they lifted billions of people out of poverty, an unprecedented feat in human history.

    Fossil fuels have also helped improve the world’s access to clean water. According to World Bank data, access to clean water increased from 76 percent of world population in 1990 to 89 percent in 2012. Technological advances in pollution reduction were enabled by cheap, fossil fuel-generated energy.

    We’re also safer than at any point in history, thanks to oil, coal and natural gas. Climate-related deaths are down 98 percent over the last 80 years. Last year saw a record low of 21,122 such deaths worldwide, compared to a high of 3.7 million in 1931, when world population was less than a third of its current size. Thank sturdy homes, heating, air-conditioning, mass irrigation, drought-relief convoys, and advance-warning systems — all made possible by fossil fuel-generated energy.

    All human progress depends on innovation, which depends on energy. Affordable and abundant energy is thus the cornerstone of human progress. And fossil fuels are the most affordable and abundant of all. Alternative energy sources are either too expensive, too difficult to access or simply inefficient.

    Fossil fuels thus have a profound moral importance. They allow us to improve human well-being and make the world a better place. For this reason, fossil fuels are likely to power the innovation that ultimately addresses climate change itself.

    • Lynn Goldfarb

      This makes National Geographic wrong too, I guess, and The World Health Organization , Save The Children, Oxfam, and every other major health organization in the world. Solar and wind are the most abundant sources of energy. They can power the world many times over ( Standford University study), and their prices continue to drop exponentially every year. They are becoming cost competitive even wihout subsidies. Fossil fuels get over $1 trillion in annually subsidies, over $550 billion from the US Government every year (Bloomberg), while clean energy gets just $7 billion. The Citizens Climate Lobby supports an end to all energy subsides. Let fossil fuels try to comoete on a level playing field and see how they do.

  3. In the past, before the threat of climate change was recognized, one can make the case that burning fossil fuels was a benefit. Now, the science has been clear for decades and the threat to our children, grandchildren and the next thousand generations is strong and growing stronger each year. We need a sharp reduction in fossil fuel emissions and the US needs to show leadership internationally.

    • Jim

      LOL, I hear we made an “agreement” with Iran over nukes recently. But oddly enough, they Tweeted a pic of a gun to Obama’s head with a nice little threat. LOL.

      People like you who can afford the regulation sure do talk the talk. Problem is no one else around the world is listening. And you only serve to weaken this nation with delusions of grandeur but in reality are economic insanity ala Solendra. Half a billion down the drain and the call for more taxes on the “rich” via their retirement and stock accounts.

      When an economic and viable alternative arrives, good. But it’s not going to happen your way or through government bullying. All that’s going to do is simply push fossil fuel elsewhere while this nation is crippled and continues its spiral downward.

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