Is the Cost of Carbon Reduction Too High?

Early this week President Obama announced that the EPA will enforce a 30% reduction in carbon emissions for power plants by 2030.  This is the largest reduction in carbon emissions proposed thus far by any president.  But it is running into a lot of political opposition.  Yet this is actually not enough to significantly impact Global Warming.  But I must give credit to the President for at last taking a big step forward in the right direction in addressing Global Warming.

Republicans, conservatives, and climate change deniers claim that the cost to the public in terms of loss jobs and increased cost of energy will be devastating to many.  One can debate this issue until one is red in the face but one thing cannot be denied.  The cost from the devastation of increased storms, record breaking droughts, and wildfires in the last ten years has placed a financial burden on this nation and a severe financial and job hardship upon the many millions of affected people in those badly hit regions.  Climate deniers will say that these recent catastrophes are not the result of global warming by man but the result of normal cyclical changes in weather patterns.

But what if they are wrong as the vast majority of climate scientist are saying?  What if climate change is really occurring as a consequence of man generating large quantities of greenhouse gases which are warming the earth’s atmosphere and causing all of these catastrophic weather events?  Can 97% of climate scientist be wrong and those who know little to nothing about climate be right about climate change?  How can science be so overwhelmingly wrong and climate deniers so overwhelmingly right?  Is it reasonable that people who have devoted a large segment of their lives scientifically studying climate be more wrong than those deniers who have never studied climate science or climate change?

Let us give the scientist the benefit of doubt for now since they have studied this subject in such great depth for several decades.  They are saying that man is dumping far more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the atmosphere can handle through the natural processes of absorption so it is accumulating and increasing the thickness of blanketed greenhouse gases surrounding the earth.  This is causing more heat from the sun’s rays to be trapped near the surface of the earth and warming our planet from this greenhouse effect.  This warming is causing our climate to change by increasing the available energy from this accumulated heat to be turned into storms in some areas and dry rainless heat in other areas.

These storms are growing in intensity and frequency as more heat energy becomes available from the increased trapping of heat due to the greenhouse effect of mainly CO2 gas.  As storms become more frequent and increase in severity they cause more damage and loss of lives in the communities they hit.  This results in the loss of jobs and cost of damage to affected residents.  The government then declares these disaster relief areas and provides disaster relief money which comes from tax dollars we all pay.  We are seeing increased storm and tornado damage in many midwestern states costing this nations billions of dollars each year in addition to the loss of life and the destruction of entire neighborhoods and towns.  On the coast wind storms, hurricanes, and ocean surges have brought utter havoc to many large coastal cities and communities.  Entire beach front communities and businesses have been washed away costing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to each community.  Again disaster relief has been provided to most of these communities.

In drought hit areas water is becoming more valuable than gold.  Agriculture has been wiped out in some areas and production at record lows in others.  Livestock is dying and crop withering in the fields.  Farmers are running out of money with crops not providing enough to make a living.  This increases the price of food for everyone.  Food shortages could become global since similar conditions would exist on other continents.  Keep in mind that Global Warming is as the word implies, global in scope.  Disaster relief will go out to farmers hit hard by drought.

Fresh water supplies would also be in short supply since prolonged and permanent droughts would not allow aquifers to replenish and water in much of the nation would also be in short supply since reservoirs would not refill and rivers would start drying up vastly increasing the cost of water and forcing much of the nation into water rationing.  Salt water infusion in river delta areas will poison nearby farmlands due to the lack of fresh water from drying rivers.  Wildfires will start to ravage the drying parts of the country due to heat and dry weather conditions.  The lack of water will make putting out these fires difficult allowing them to grow out of control and burn out nearby communities unchecked.  This will have further consequences in the cost in money and lives for communities hit hard by fire.  Again more federal relief aid will have to go into these ravaged communities.  And the scenarios go on.

As devastation hits increasingly more areas victims in these disaster hit areas will become less productive and more unemployed leading to increased poverty and crime and fewer taxes dollars paid by these victims to the government.  So the real question we should all be asking is: How can we afford not to address carbon emissions and Global Warming at any cost?

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