Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Princeton professor and NY Times columnist gets to the bottom of of the Right Wing’s claim that we can’t afford to fight Global Warming.
From Krugman’s piece in the NY Times:
Some of them still claim that thereâ€™s no such thing as global warming, or at least that the evidence isnâ€™t yet conclusive. But that argument is wearing thin â€” as thin as the Arctic pack ice, which has now diminished to the point that shipping companies are opening up new routes through the formerly impassable seas north of Siberia.
Even corporations are losing patience with the deniers: earlier this week Pacific Gas and Electric canceled its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in protest over the chamberâ€™s â€œdisingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the realityâ€ of climate change.
So the main argument against climate action probably wonâ€™t be the claim that global warming is a myth. It will, instead, be the argument that doing anything to limit global warming would destroy the economy. As the blog Climate Progress puts it, opponents of climate change legislation â€œkeep raising their estimated cost of the clean energy and global warming pollution reduction programs like some out of control auctioneer.â€
“…the best available economic analyses suggest that even deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions would impose only modest costs on the average family. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of the effects of Waxman-Markey, concluding that in 2020 the bill would cost the average family only $160 a year, or 0.2 percent of income. Thatâ€™s roughly the cost of a postage stamp a day.
By 2050, when the emissions limit would be much tighter, the burden would rise to 1.2 percent of income. But the budget office also predicts that real G.D.P. will be about two-and-a-half times larger in 2050 than it is today, so that G.D.P. per person will rise by about 80 percent. The cost of climate protection would barely make a dent in that growth. And all of this, of course, ignores the benefits of limiting global warming.”
So hereâ€™s the bottom line: The claim that climate legislation will kill the economy deserves the same disdain as the claim that global warming is a hoax. The truth about the economics of climate change is that itâ€™s relatively easy being green.