Who should pay up for the cost of climate change? | The Tylt
Who should pay up for the cost of climate change?
There's no question the climate crisis is leading to mounting costs. Whether it's repairs from extreme weather events, displacement due to coastal flooding or food shortages, climate change is and will directly impact much of the world's population unless corrective action is taken immediately.
The Sierra Club paints a picture of the costs associated with extreme weather events in the U.S. alone over the past few years:
In 2017, extraordinary wildfires, floods, and storms pummeled large sections of the United States and led to never-before-seen destruction...According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017 was the most expensive year for natural disasters in U.S. history, costing a total of $306 billion.
We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart.
Reversing the effects of climate change will take hard work on many fronts, and it will also take trillions of dollars. The question is, who—if anyone—is on the hook for paying up?
The condition of the climate today is the result of decisions made decades ago. Although the world might not be able to hold certain individuals accountable for their choices, the reality is people will continue to suffer for generations if those decisions aren't rectified. According to the Sierra Club, the solution is to hold corporations liable for their impact on the global climate:
The campaign for climate restitution focuses on what the academic literature sometimes refers to as the "carbon majors"—those corporate conglomerates that have amassed colossal fortunes through the discovery, extraction, refining, marketing, and sale of fossil fuel energy. These companies span the globe, their networks of wellheads and pipelines and refineries stretching across continents and beneath the seas. Measured by revenue and size of workforce, they are larger than many governments.
The Sierra Club maintains that these "carbon majors" are on the hook for covering the "costs of their recklessness."
Rather than rely on a select group of companies to pay up, the governments of countries largely responsible for pumping carbon emissions into the atmosphere should be held accountable. According to the BBC, a small number of countries are mostly at fault:
Since 1850 the US and the nations which are now the EU have been responsible for more than 50% of the world's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
These nations should compensate for their outsized impact on the global climate.
Climate change could cost corporations up to $1 trillion across the globe. The carbon majors are responsible for such costs and should endeavor to offset them in order to avoid a worldwide economic collapse.
According to the Los Angeles Times editorial board, the responsibility to reverse the effects of climate change belongs to all of us, but the movement should be lead by the countries who have benefited directly from the planet's suffering. It is their wealth other countries will need when preparing to fight the climate crisis:
But the effort must be led by the nations that reaped so many of the benefits of economic development and increased wealth through industrialization for so long. The poorest countries in the world need help finding the money, resources and technology to move toward a sustainable future without plunging themselves much further into crushing poverty and inequality. The richer countries, though they will have enormous costs of their own, have a moral obligation to step up.