We must all face climate change sooner or later

We must all face climate change sooner or later I grew up in the Yukon within my own unique family, raised with a lot of love by my conservative father and Dutch (liberal) mother. As an adult I've developed into the political hybrid of a fiscally conserv

I grew up in the Yukon within my own unique family, raised with a lot of love by my conservative father and Dutch (liberal) mother. As an adult I’ve developed into the political hybrid of a fiscally conservative environmentalist, which has created some real confusion to me, that I’d like some help deciphering.

As a fiscal conservative, I don’t understand the conservative stance on climate change.

Most conservatives acknowledge the reality of climate change and the devastating effects it will have on our economy. If we take drastic action to address the issue now, by reducing our use of fossil fuels and investing in cleaner energy sources, there is little doubt that this will hurt our economy. Will it destroy our economy? No!

It seems to me, if we act now in a proactive manner to address climate change and are willing to accept an economy that grows at a much slower rate over the next 40 years, we will mitigate many of the most devastating effects of climate change and still enjoy our current quality of life. It seems to me from an economic perspective this proactive course is the best for our economy and our people.

The alternative is to stay on our present course: not addressing climate change. This approach is destined to lead to absolutely devastating effects to our economy and may cause its collapse. Some common examples of economic consequences of a planetary temperature increase of three to four degrees over the next 40 years include:

1. Acidification of oceans costing billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

2. Food and water security issues across the globe, resulting in mass migrations, refugees and costly wars.

3. Rising ocean levels requiring dykes in major coastal cities with costs in the trillions.

4. Extreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts, and storms that cause billions of dollars in damage.

If I could use a business metaphor to simplify my confusion: Imagine if we owned a hotel, and we chose not to invest in maintenance, upkeep, fire systems and insurance in an effort to save on costs and increase profits. Well, 40 or 50 years down the road our hotel will fall apart or catch fire, leaving us without any source of income.

Does this make business sense? Is this not our current approach to climate change?

I am genuinely interested in hearing the economic argument against addressing climate change now. Please help!

Peter Mather


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