Over the past few decades, climate scientists have gradually converged to a consensus about global warming: it’s real, humans are causing it, and over the next century or less it could be a very, very big deal. Sure, there are still a few naysayers out there; but the large majority of the nerds in the world’s climate labs—the ones who devote their lives to thinking about this stuff—are now convinced that climate change is the real deal.
This article claims that top economists are gradually converging on a parallel consensus: that over the long term, it’s much, much cheaper to fight climate change than it is to let global warming continue unchecked.
Obviously, transitioning to a cleaner energy system isn’t free. But according to the emerging consensus among economists, it could be a lot cheaper than people expect—and far, far cheaper than you think if you only read coal industry propaganda. On the flip side, paying for the consequences of climate change—dealing with droughts and floods, safeguarding homes and cities from rising sea levels, managing the flow of global climate refugees, and so forth—could be a lot more expensive over the long haul than a shift to cleaner energy.
It’s possible that the economic consensus isn’t as solid on this issue—not yet, anyway—as the scientific consensus is. Still, the article is very much worth reading. and I imagine this isn’t the last time we’ll hear about the high cost of slacking off on the fight against climate change.