|July 28, 2015|
Bad News for Climate-Change Deniers
|Republican presidential candidates have generally refused to acknowledge the reality of climate change. New polls and a report issued last week show they aren't helping themselves with business or voters.|
First, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit puts climate change in terms of cold, hard cash: It estimates that investors will lose $4.2 trillion between now and 2100 as a result of the changing climate, an amount about equal to the G.D.P. of Japan. If climate change is worse than expected, the loss could be as much as $13.8 trillion.
The report notes that investors may not be able to avoid losses simply by altering their investments, because entire economies may be affected. And the time to act is now: "If investors wait until these risks actually manifest themselves, then the options they will have to deal with them will be significantly reduced," the report cautions. "Future pensioners may see the security of their retirement jeopardized as a result of the climate risk that the asset managers charged with their investments are currently carrying."
A Quinnipiac University poll released last Thursday shows where the public is moving. A majority of voters in Colorado, Virginia and Iowa said they agreed with Pope Francis that more action is necessary to fight climate change.
As Emily Atkin of ThinkProgress notes, Democrats in those swing states were more likely than Republicans to support increased action on climate change --- but even among Republicans, those who oppose increased action had only a slim margin over those who think something more must be done.
Hillary Clinton addressed climate change in a video on Sunday, pledging that the country would have over half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term, and that 33 percent of its electricity would come from renewable sources by 2027. Her rivals for the Democratic nomination have gone further --- Bernie Sanders has come out against the Keystone XL pipeline, which Mrs. Clinton has not done, and Martin O'Malley has said the country should be fully powered by renewable energy by 2050.
The Quinnipiac public survey may be bad news for the many Republican presidential candidates who deny or equivocate on climate change, Ms. Atkin points out. One of the few to buck that trend is Lindsey Graham, who said in June that "If I'm president of the United States, we're going to address climate change, CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way."
The E.I.U. report is good evidence that addressing climate change is the business-friendly position.