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View Diary: IPCC report shows action on climate change is not spending, it's investing (76 comments)

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  •  Our economic system as currently (12+ / 0-)

    constructed rewards short-term (the next few quarters) thinking over long-term (the next few decades).

    So it doesn't really matter if an investment would yield an 8 fold return in thirty years when the person making the decision won't be there to get the bonus based on the ROI.

    For politicians who increasingly see their "public service" as a path to personal wealth and power, the math is much the same.  Who really cares about a place in history when K Street checks contain so many lovely zeros?

    "High deductibles kill low income patients." FishOutOfWater

    by JesseCW on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 03:17:26 PM PDT

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    •  That's a different but important point (6+ / 0-)

      There are financial interests that see money spent on long-term investment as far less profitable than short-term speculation. And in certain cases, that might well be true, for them (but tell that to Warren Buffet, who became one of the world's richest people through buy and hold).

      But that only concerns investment capital that financial firms posses or have access to themselves, and not government or corporate capital, which I'm guessing still dwarfs bank capital (but, unfortunately, not nearly as much as it used to). A bank can't directly tell politicians or corporate execs how to spend and invest their capital. Unfortunately, they've gotten very good as doing this indirectly, though campaign contributions, threats of running negative ads, and getting more and more control over corporate fiscal policy.

      This has to end. Banks serve economies, not vice-versa.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 03:39:07 PM PDT

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      •  Isn't it ironic that one organization, (5+ / 0-)

        the US military, which isn't driven by short-term stock market results, are already investing heavily to get ready for climate change?

        I'm not necessarily a fan of our military complex, but at least they realize their survival depends on looking ahead to the long range future.

        The most violent element in society is ignorance.

        by Mr MadAsHell on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 03:56:43 PM PDT

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        •  They are going to be fighting the wars caused by.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          .....climate change.  They've been planning for climate apocalypse since the 1990's.

          The days of Islamic radicals hiding in caves will be a distant (and nostalgic) memory compared to what's coming.  Entire populations are going to be on the move.  Nation states are going to literally disappear

          This space for rent -- Cheap!

          by jds1978 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 05:53:52 PM PDT

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    •  You're right on our economic system and (5+ / 0-)

      short-term focus.

      Our political system is the same: "long-term" for an elected official is their term of office - 2, 4, or 6 years as the case may be.

      The most violent element in society is ignorance.

      by Mr MadAsHell on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 03:54:48 PM PDT

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    •  The investment needed now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is roughly equivalent to the gross national product of every country on the planet for the next 85 years. If we were willing to say that money isn't a good reason for doing or not doing anything we might survive this.

      It sort of like when you get mugged in an alley and your choices are hand over your wallet and purse, your watch, and all your jewelry or get shot but you draw the line at your wedding rings and thus chose the latter course of action.

      I want you to think about this Jesse, 90 % of our global infrastructure is coastal.

      Based on the IPCC Report V projections the flood plain insurance maps for cat V coastal flood plains are setting rates at $2.10 per hundred dollars of value for the first five miles or so inland and projecting a possible rise of 2 feet in sea levels by 2035.

      We are already locked into that by our failure to take any action so far. By 2050 we could see temperatures increase 2°C from pre industrial temperatures and by 2100 we could see 4°C. Sea level rise would then be measured in meters rather than feet.

      Over 100 East and Gulf Coast cities with populations over 100,000 would not be able to be saved by seawalls or levees and would have to be moved as far inland as the Appalachians or be abandoned to sink beneath the waves along with things like their water and sewage treatment, power plants, utilities, nuclear utilities, roads, bridges, marinas airports, seaports, LPGN and oil terminals, electrical and communications power grids, coal fired utilities and all the stores those populations normally shop at.

      After that things just get worse ever more quickly. So we can do now what we should have done before or we can die in increasingly more miserable ways.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 05:03:10 PM PDT

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      •  Actually, that's the investment needed if we delay (0+ / 0-)

        … which would require moving coastal populations miles inland and living with devastated agriculture - that could indeed cost decades of GWP, but that is still avoidable by prudent investment now.  

        The investment needed is very affordable, a few hundred billion a year, especially considering greater avoided costs in the relatively near term from crop failures and more frequent Katrinas and Sandys.  And the investment in clean energy would create millions of jobs and have a positive multiplier effect on the economy.

        Some crop failures and more major floods are already unavoidable, but the difference between multiple disasters and global catastrophe is worth the effort. The big risk is triggering uncontrollable positive feedbacks, such as massive methane release from thawing permafrost, which become increasingly likely if global mean temperature rises more than 2 C.  We are not locked into that scenario, but we are running out of time.

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 09:54:22 PM PDT

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        •  Moving coastal populations inland takes time (0+ / 0-)

          It took us centuries to build the cities we have, takes a quarter century just to design on large highway, water treatment, septic system, nuke plant subway or commuter rail.

          Its just plain wrong to say 2 degrees C is avoidable.
          4 degrees C by the end of the century is optimistic.

          How does spending our gross national product for decades if not centuries seem affordable?

          If we were able to accomplish this at all it would be at the rate of a few tens of billions per city and suburbs, for 100 cities per year just for the infrastructure, and that again to clean up the pollutants left behind, and that again to deal with the utilities, transportation, communications, utilities, energy grids, retail and commercial manufacturing and distribution networks.

          That's trillions with a T not billions with a B.

          We are already locked into the disaster scenario for the next few centuries just by what we have already failed to do. The tipping points will tip, things will get worse for a long time before they get better at all even if there is some chance they might get better.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 05:14:32 PM PDT

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          •  IPCC disagrees with you on the cost of prudence (0+ / 0-)

            See, p. 18 of the new IPCC mitigation report  summary.

            IPCC's best estimate of the cost of holding global mean temp increase to 2C above pre-industrial levels is 0.06% of GWP, not 100.0%.

            I tend to agree with Hansen that +2C is too high; he estimates it could lead to sea level rise of 20m, which would inundate coastal cities in the next few centuries, and that trajectory would devastate agriculture in this century.

            But the cost of more rapid transition to renewables supplies is MUCH less than the cost of adaptation after not doing it.  Solar and wind are already becoming cost competitive; accelerated deployment (together with serious efficiency investments) might cost a few percent of GDP, but most of it would be paid for by avoided fuel costs, and the rest more than paid for by avoided famines.

            There's no such thing as a free market!

            by Albanius on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 07:29:36 PM PDT

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