The American Security Project ASP, a non-profit, bipartisan public policy and research organization, has recently issued a series of 50 reports entitled Pay Now or Pay Later: A State by State Assessment of the Impact of Climate Change. The series turns the classic argument that it costs too much to do anything to prevent or minimize the impact of climate change on its head by exploring the costs of inaction on a state by state basis.
The series begins with the premise that climate change is going to cost a lot whether we act on it or not, but it’s likely to cost a great deal more if we wait to act. The impacts will likely affect our economy, security, competitiveness and public health.
As Republican NJ Governor and former EPA head Christy Todd Whitman, a member of the ASP board, said, “Too often the debate about climate breaks down over cost, with many Americans rightfully concerned about what limiting pollution would do to our economy. But what this series of reports shows is that there is a cost on the other side of the ledger, too. There will be costs to our economic security from climate change—and significant ones at that—if we do nothing but continue business as usual.”
Some examples of the findings include:
This type of argument could be persuasive for those willing to be rational about the subject and consider the broad and long term economic implications of the climate disruptions that we have unwittingly brought upon ourselves through our prodigious use of fossil fuels. On the other hand it will have little impact on those who care about nothing but themselves and their own amusements and distractions. I’m still trying to figure out which camp the majority of climate-deniers reside in.
RP Siegel, PE, is a writer and consultant on various aspects of sustainability. His most recent book is the novel, Vapor Trails, the first in a series co-authored with Fowler Center Director Roger Saillant. The book addresses issues around global warming and energy.
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RP Siegel (1952-2021), was an author and inventor who shined a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work appeared in TriplePundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, Grist, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering, Design News, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, Environmental Science, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Eniday, and engineering.com among others . He was the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP was a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 53 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP was the winner of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week blogging competition. RP passed away on September 30, 2021. We here at TriplePundit will always be grateful for his insight, wit and hard work.