Professor Adrienne Beck
Basic Writing II
28 November 2017
The Effect of Climate Change on Economy
Earth is 4.5 billion years old and it had gone through a lot of traumatic events. One of the most controversial topics of today is climate change. There has been an ongoing debate whether the climate change is real or not. Some suggest that it is a hoax meanwhile others say that it is real. Both sides of the conflict have their own knowledge to back up their opinions. There is a lot of research and data which demonstrate that climate change is real, whereas there is no proper evidence or theories to defend the idea of climate change being fake. Big businesses as well as other small private run businesses lose profit when the government tries to put a limitation on their usage of the carbon. The theory is believable, but it does hurt the economy.
How does the climate change affect the economy? It is essential to answer what is climate change before answering this question. Specified by Bill Nye, it is a fact that Climate change is caused by small variation in earth’s orbit which is characterized by the dramatic increase in the earth’s temperature. It is estimated to increase around 1.2 to 1.4 degree Fahrenheit warmer. According to NOAA, 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit may seem like a small change, but it has caused major devastations. Climate change was increasing at a slow rate, but the last Ten out of thirteen years was the warmest on record of the planet earth. Many scientists agree that variation in the last decade is not caused by orbital variation, but is caused by Human activity starting from the industrial revolution. Climate change is causing the natural disasters which are leading to the economic destruction.
It is costing a lot of money to help to sustain the environment and undo the damages that had been done by the shift of temperature. According to a new report, U.S financial departments had spent over $240 billion over the past ten years on natural disasters which are caused by climate change and burning of fossil fuels. The report excludes the last 3 major hurricanes and the amount of money that was spent on it. It also excludes the 76 wildfires that took place in 9 western states (Leahy). The scientific study by Universal Ecological Fund suggests that in the upcoming years these numbers are destined to go higher. It is possible that natural disasters and the health problem caused by the pollution could cost up to $360 billion per year, which possibly could end up destroying the economic system (Leahy). Environmental changes are costing a lot of money and the expenses are going to elevate if nobody comes with a solution to help the effects of climate change.
It is quite easy to manipulate the citizen when the president himself point towards the directions of climate change being a hoax. During the presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump brought the attention to himself when he made a statement, “Nobody really knows”, referring to climate change, “Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast” (Ponsot). The statement made by to the candidate at the time influenced many opinions. A Gallup poll in March suggested that 47% of citizens in 2016 and 35% in 2015 believed that climate change is caused by human activity, but the president remains skeptical about his opinion (Ponsot). The chart below (Figure 1) demonstrates the current political opinions. There had been an ongoing trend where the Democrats support the theory of climate change whereas the Republicans deny it. It is important to notice that a lot of Republicans are businessmen.
Figure 1 Republicans are less likely to believe in climate change
Many options to save the environment had erupted since the finding of the Global Warming. Renewable energy is one of them. It could help reduce the impact of climate change (Leahy). According to First National Study, twenty-nine of U.S. states have adopted RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards). It is predicted that if RPS continues for another 25 years, it will generate forty percent of the electricity, and save $97 billion in air pollution (Leahy). It is also going to reduce the climate change and the health-related costs. It will help create new jobs and cut the electricity produced by usage of coal. The costs of carbon dioxide are clear because of the data and neglecting them could cause severe long-term damage to planet earth. It may be too late if the steps are not taken now.
There are other ways which could potentially help the environment, but companies have a hard time believing that using carbon is unhealthy for the environment because usage of carbon is a cheaper option for them. Carbon emission refers to the burning, gas, and coal for energy use. The release of these chemicals is extremely harmful to the atmosphere and the ozone layer which protects planet earth from the harmful Ultraviolet sun rays. In 2009, Congress had done multiple practices to lessen the effect of carbon emission throughout the economy. It did not work out the way they planned because of the financial crisis and flip-flopping the political views. There are two ways to reduce the greenhouse gas emission in the United States: 1) Policy prescription 2) introducing new technology. It is important to have energy friendly technology that cuts back the GHG emission with managing the steady economy (Tulandhar). Government is still trying to come up with different ways to find a healthy balance between the economy and the climate change.
Figure 2 Data showing Greenhouse gas emission increased 75% since 1970 (PBL)
The trend of living in a smaller household as singles or couples without children had arisen especially in the bigger cities. It is not helping the environment. In fact, it increases the effect of greenhouse gas emission. Smaller households use unreasonable amount of emissions compared to the larger families (Yeo). Joint families share the resources such as air conditioner or washing machine which decreases the usage of carbon per being. Whereas, smaller households cover up to only one to two people using the same amount of carbon as compared to the families with five to six people. According to a recent study, adding another person to the household decreases the personal emission by 6 percent (Yeo). Larger family homes tend to share the economy by sharing the appliances with the space that they live in. Sharing has benefits. According to Washington Post, about half of the homes in Manhattan are occupied by the single person. In a smaller household, it is impossible to limit the emission. Adding members could potentially decrease the carbon emission.
There are ways to save the environment if the people and the government come together and believe the idea that climate change is real. Yes, it might affect the businesses, but there are ways to save it. Plus, it is going to hurt the economy in the long run when more and more disasters are going to take place. It is an essential step to look at the data and the shreds of evidence that could potentially change ones’ opinion of the climate change. The planet earth could be saved if the individuals change a few of their everyday lifestyles. It all comes down to how much society is willing to sacrifice for the future generations.
Leahy, Stephen. “Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year.” National Geographic, 27 Sept. 2017. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/09/climate-change-costs-us-economy-billions-report/. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.
Mendelsohn, Robert and James Neumann. The Impact of Climate Change on the United States Economy. Cambridge University Press, 2004. Books.google.com, https://books.google.com/books?id=8NMUQ3h5i9IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Impact+of+Climate+Change+on+the+United+States+Economy&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7gKXekZDXAhUk04MKHXO2BQMQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=The%20Impact%20of%20Climate%20Change%20on%20the%20United%20States%20Economy&f=false. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.
“Global greenhouse gas emissions increased 75% since 1970.” Ga naar de Nederlandse taal, www.pbl.nl/en/dossiers/Climatechange/TrendGHGemissions1990-2004.
Ponsot, Elisabeth. “Why climate change is Fake – What Americans Google about the global warming and why it matter” Quartz, Quartz, 1 June 2017, https://qz.com/995262/why-climate-change-is-fake-what-americans-google-about-climate-change-and-why-it-matters/. Accessed 28 November. 2017.
Tulandhar, Sugandha D., et al. “Interactions Effect of Market-Based and Command-And-Control Polices.” Energy Journal, 02 Oct. 2017, pp 61-88. EBSCOhost.
Yeo, Sophie. “The sharing economy helps fight climate change (but not as much as you think).” The Washington Post, 18 Sept. 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/09/18/the-sharing-economy-helps-fight-climate-change-but-not-as-much-as-you-think/?utm_term=.86b398a5dd5c. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.