Saturday, February 2, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, February 2, 2013

Putting Climate Change in the Budget Now Will Save Lives and Money

The failure of world leaders to act on the critical issue of global warming is often blamed on economic considerations. Over and over, we hear politicians say they can’t spend our tax dollars on environmental protection when the economy is so fragile. Putting aside the absurdity of prioritizing a human-created and adaptable tool like the economy over caring for everything that allows us to survive and be healthy, let’s take a look at the economic reality.

A new scientific report concludes that climate change is already costing the world $1.2 trillion a year and is eating up 1.6 per cent of global GDP, and rising. It’s also killing at least 400,000 people every year, mainly in developing countries. That’s not counting the 4.5-million people a year who die from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.

As Michael Zammit Cutajar, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told the Guardian: “Climate change is not just a distant threat but a present danger — its economic impact is already with us.”

But we’re to believe that corporate profits, ever-increasing growth, consumer culture, disposable products and often meaningless jobs to keep it all going are more important than the health and survival of humans and other species, and true long-term economic prosperity.

The report, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet,” was compiled by 50 scientists, economists and experts for the Europe-based non-governmental organization DARA and 20 countries that joined to form the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

As stated in the preface, it “challenges a conventional view: that global action on climate change is a cost to society. Instead, it enlightens our understanding of how tackling climate change through coordinated efforts between nations would actually produce much-needed benefits for all.” (Source: Huffington Post) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/david-suzuki/climate-change-economics_b_1934042.html