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Neil Wagner

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Climate Costs Cause Concern

Posted: 10/02/2012 3:35 pm

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In talking about folks who are concerned about man-made global warming, much-publicized climate change skeptic (and part-time meteorologist) Anthony Watts recently told PBS, "They want to change policy. They want to apply taxes and these kinds of things may not be the actual solution for making a change to our society."

I would say that critique is a first cousin to U.S. Senator James Inhofe's admission that he thought climate change "must be true until I found out what it cost."

Governmental policy, taxation, and price tags are open to debate. As much as we are all convinced that our views on those topics are the truth, it's all ultimately one big subjective shade of gray.

Science is more of a... well... science. While no credible scientist on Earth would position his or her study as "The Truth," the fact remains that scientific conclusions are based on an extensive cyclical process of analysis, assessment, comparison and critique.

Here is another category that is more black and white (dollars and cents, if you will): dollars and cents! A recent study in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences calculates that the United States government is underestimating the future financial impacts of climate change by -- get this -- somewhere between 2.6 and twelve times. TWELVE TIMES! Meanwhile, in India, the Union Finance Ministry has determined that the country's government is spending more on climate change adaptation than on the health sector. And, to add insult to injury, a recent report estimates that climate change is reducing the world's gross domestic product by 1.6 percent annually.

People of the world spend plenty in taxes to fund the military and to insure against lots of accidents that won't happen and illnesses that won't occur. And yet, Watts doesn't want us to take measures against a scientifically verified problem that is already costing us lots of money.

It's that kind of thinking that recently led some Florida residents toto protest local proposals aimed at combatting sea level rise. The concerned citizens apparently feel that a fight against sea level rise is an acknowledgement of climate change and that climate change is a environmental whacko United Nations world government plot -- and we can't have that, can we? Apparently we need to stand up for our rights by allowing flood waters to overtake our homes uncontested.

In the world of "pay now or pay later," I'd rather pay now. It's really simple economics, isn't it?

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