Robert Rubin: How Ignoring Climate Change Could Sink the U.S. Economy
by Robert Rubin (The Washington Post) Good economic decisions require good data. And to get good data, we must account for all relevant variables. But we’re not doing this when it comes to climate change — and that means we’re making decisions based on a flawed picture of future risks. While we can’t define future climate-change risks with precision, they should be included in economic policy, fiscal and business decisions because of their potential magnitude.
When it comes to the economy, much of the debate about climate change — and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling it — is framed as a trade-off between environmental protection and economic prosperity. Many people argue that moving away from fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions will impede economic growth, hurt business and hamper job creation.
But from an economic perspective, that’s precisely the wrong way to look at it. The real question should be: What is the cost of inaction? In my view — and in the view of a growing group of business people, economists, and other financial and market experts — the cost of inaction over the long term is far greater than the cost of action.
I recently participated in a bipartisan effort to measure the economic risks of unchecked climate change in the United States. We commissioned an independent analysis, led by a highly respected group of economists and climate scientists, and our inaugural report, “Risky Business,” was released in June. The report’s conclusions demonstrated the significant harm that climate change is causing now and that will almost certainly be far more severe in the future — to the agricultural, energy and coastal-property sectors, as well as to public health and labor productivity more generally.
First, future federal spending to deal with climate change is likely to be enormous and should be included in fiscal projections, whether in existing estimates or in additional estimates that include climate change. If nothing is done to prevent climate-related crises, the federal government will be forced to deal with them later — from property losses to public health crises to emergency aid. These huge risks are not currently in official future estimates or federal budget plans.
To cover those costs, we will have to increase the deficit; raise taxes; or significantly cut spending on defense, our social safety net, and public investment including infrastructure, education and basic research.
Second, investors should demand that companies disclose their exposure to climate risks, including the impact that climate change could have on their businesses and assets, the value of their assets that could be stranded by climate change, and the costs they may someday incur to address their carbon emissions. READ MORE
PUMP, Documentary on Oil Monopoly, to Hit Theaters in September
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In New York, PUMP, the latest documentary feature film from Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell, will be making its long awaited premiere this September in specially selected theaters around the country. The initial presentations take place in New York on September 12th.
Narrated by Jason Bateman, PUMP is an inspiring, eye-opening documentary that tells the story of America’s addiction to oil, from its corporate conspiracy beginnings to its current monopoly today, and explains clearly and simply how we can end it – and finally win choice at the pump. READ MORE Watch the PUMP trailer on YouTube, here.