I’m reminded that Sightline’s pal Kristen Sheeran co-authored a great op-ed in the Washington Post last week. The piece makes a number of smart points, one of which is that it’s hardly fair to call climate policy “too expensive,” while ignoring the very expensive costs that result from failing to enact climate policy:
The real cost of carbon emissions is far from zero. Each new scientific report brings proof of a changing climate that promises to disrupt agricultural patterns, set off a scramble for dwindling resources, raise sea levels, propel population shifts and require massive emergency spending as we try to react to the growing crises. These are the costs of inaction.
The cost of inaction is high and could be catastrophic. But, contrary to claims, the cost of switching to cleaner energy and dramatically lower emissions will spur competitive gains, cost far less and come much more quickly once we have set our goals, adjusted our incentives and corrected the market’s false signals.
History shows that big changes often come in a rush, unforeseen by the critics of the day. We believe that honest accounting for the reality of climate change will bring a convergence of effort and interests, triggering change on a scale that will, once again, alter the course of history.
Sheeran also points to her new website—which I’ve been meaning to blog about for some time now—Real Climate Economics. Here, you’ll find some of the best economics literature on a range of climate policy topics: everything from worst case scenarios to discounting and intergenerational ethics to questions of equity and distribution.
Climate policy wonks, rejoice! And go check it out.