The Cost of Climate Change

An article in The Economist outlines the cost of cutting emissions, which they reckon is about 0.1% of the world’s GDP.  You can read about how the heating and lighting of buildings is currently inefficient and improvement could cut bills and emissions.

But what I felt was the most important piece of the article was this sentence:

Burning fossil fuels imposes a cost to society that is not reflected in their price. Economics says that it should be; and if it were, the price of using fossil fuels would rise in relation to the price of using renewable energy.

So, the cost at the pump is not an accurate price and gives fossil fuel an unfair economic advantage relative to other renewable energy options. This artificially low price has allowed us to continue driving larger and larger vehicles without having to pay the true cost to the environment. Isn’t that some sort of subsidy or welfare – we haven’t actually earned the money to drive around in cars getting 28 miles to gallon but have been bankrolled to do it.

So, the argument I don’t want to pay extra for my energy rings false when we haven’t been paying the true value for it, in the first place. We shouldn’t have to pay extra but we should have access to the most efficient burning fuels that give us the most value for our money, and that value includes a smaller impact on our environment.   


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