This is a guest post by Emily Logan of Care2.
When activists talk about climate change, we often focus on impacts. We show how Superstorm Sandy mangled the Jersey Shore, how the severe California drought reduced reservoirs to puddles, and introduce people to children suffering from asthma. We tell folks that climate change makes all of these impacts more likely, more frequent and more severe.
But for people skeptical of climate change—either of its science or, like the Chris Christies of the world, of the need for humanity to do anything about it—sometimes these stories aren’t enough. When facing the choice of spending our country’s limited resources on drastically reducing our fossil fuel production and fortifying our cities against sea level rise or investing in economic stimulus or tax cuts, it helps to speak the opposition’s language: dollars.
This is a guest post by Emily Logan of Care2.
This is a guest post by Aaron Viles of Care2.
When we talk about the effects of climate change, often the first place we look is the natural world. There are polar bears dying from starvation for lack of sea ice; there are forests in the American West catching fire and burning rapidly after years of drought have dried out the vegetation. There are human costs too: the damage to homes and communities from extreme weather events that happen with more frequency and severity as the planet warms. And there’s the poor air quality that causes and exacerbates health problems, especially for children and the elderly.
These are compelling arguments for those of us already concerned about our changing planet. However, some of the best arguments to win more supporters for climate action aren’t about the environment at all. Climate change is going to cost us real, hard dollars that we just can’t afford. It’s not just taxpayers on the hook for cleanup and resilience investments. Whole industries will have to change dramatically or disappear. Here are a few that are most at risk:
This is a guest post by David Suzuki.
With oil prices plunging from more than $100 a barrel last summer to below $50 now, the consequences of a petro-fuelled economy are hitting home — especially in Alberta, where experts forecast a recession.
The province’s projected budget surplus has turned into a $500-million deficit on top of a $12-billion debt, with predicted revenue losses of $11 billion or more over the next three or four years if prices stay low or continue to drop as expected. Alberta’s government is talking about service reductions, public-sector wage and job cuts and even increased or new taxes on individuals. TD Bank says Canada as a whole can expect deficits over the next few years unless Ottawa takes money from its contingency fund.
This is a guest post by Andrew Gage, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law.
According to the B.C. Government, the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic – a direct result of climate change – cost British Columbia billions in lost timber value alone – not counting environmental and other damages. This reality has influenced the public consciousness of British Columbians about the cost of climate change, and it doesn’t seem a stretch to suggest that public awareness of climate change’s impacts in B.C. was influenced by the pine beetle epidemic, and therefore that the pine beetle played an important role in B.C. adopting its carbon tax in 2008 – the only jurisdiction in North America to date to do so.
I have suggested that awareness that climate change is costing us here and now may finally drive real climate action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (because as John Oliver says, we’ve proven that we “cannot be trusted with the future tense”). It may even prompt discussion about whether the taxpayer – or the polluter – should be the one paying for those costs.
Earlier today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his official endorsement to President Barack Obama.
After a lukewarm statement yesterday about climate's effect on the storm, now climate change is front and center on Bloomberg's radar.
“Our climate is changing,” penned the mayor in a Bloomberg News editorial. “One [candidate] sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”
President Obama says he is “honored” to have Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement, and broke his own climate silence in response (other than MTV, he hasn't discussed it):
“I'm honored to have Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement. I deeply respect him for his leadership in business, philanthropy and government, and appreciate the extraordinary job he's doing right now, leading New York City through these difficult days.
“While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time - that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children's future, and we owe it to them to do something about it. …” [H/T TPMemo]
Chances are, if you're already concerned about being off'ed by climate change, it's probably because you imagine being swept away by a super-charged hurricane, drowned by rising sea levels, starved because of drought-induced crop failure, or set aflame by roaring wildfires. But as it turns out, your risk of perishing by the titans of extreme weather may be a ways off - because the heat may get to you first.
If you didn't already know, heat is actually the number one killer amongst its weather-related brethren, causing more fatalities than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined, according to NOAA.
A new report released this week by the NRDC, “Killer Summer Heat: Projected Death Toll from Rising Temperatures in America Due to Climate Change” [PDF], estimates that 150,000 people could die because of heat-related deaths, with numbers increasing over the century as climate change continues to crank up the temperatures. And, predictably so, communities' ability to cope with the ordeal will depend on our efforts to reduce carbon pollution and employ life-saving adaptive measures.
Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed caught widespread attention when he held a cabinet meeting underneath the sea in the months leading up to the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. He continued to captivate negotiators, governments, and climate advocates with his frank and outspoken demeanor, sometimes for better or for worse. As the President of the Maldives, one of the lowest lying nations in the world, Nasheed's major objective has been to stop his country from sinking into the rising seas.
A new documentary, The Island President, gives audiences a rare look into the behind-the-scenes political struggles President Nasheed faced in the year leading up to the climate summit. The filmmakers capture Nasheed's monumental task of wrestling major world leaders to agree to reduce their emissions for the sake of saving vulnerable nations from the onslaught of climate change.
Those who attended the summit will quickly remember the frustrating tension felt as the two-weeks rolled further and further into disappointment, eventually leading to Obama's strong-arming on the last day of the conference. However, the film paints the outcome of Copenhagen in a positive light, focusing on the fact that countries came together to talk about the issue of climate change at all, instead of the massive failure that many remember it as.
“No, it was not the dramatic success that some had hoped it would be,” recalled director Jon Shenk, in an interview, “but there was something unprecedented that had happened, which was that this agreement got signed by all the countries stating that there is problem and we need to do something about it. From Nasheed's point of view, it's a start.”