You've probably heard science followers say, fixing the climate mess might be expensive, but not fixing it is going to be a lot more expensive. I like to refer to it as the Republican climate change denial tax on America. That tax is not only on fixing infrastructure from more common or stronger hurricanes and floods, it also comes in the form of higher prices. Higher food prices from super droughts quickly comes to mind, but higher prices for things like property insurance may also be here or just around the corner.
Insurance companies aren't fools, they can be greedy, creepy little things, but they're not fools. They don't want to pay more for claims than they have to, and they're not going to ignore 97% of climate scientists describing a new rapidly changing climate that could easily bankrupt them. Politics makes strange bed fellows and those fighting to stop the oncoming climate disaster just might find they have a new ally.
From The Chicago Tribune:
An insurance company is suing Will County and 12 county municipalities, alleging that the governments did not do enough to prevent and mitigate flood damage caused by the heavy rains of April 2013.So the Republican climate change denial tax is hitting the property insurance companies and they're none to pleased about it. But insurance companies seem to be more in the business of collecting premiums than paying for claims and they don't want to pay.
The lawsuit, by Illinois Farmers Insurance Company and Farmers Insurance Exchange, as well as its subsidiaries, filed the "proposed class action" on behalf of itself, other property insurance companies, those insured by the companies and property owners who "sustained property and other economic losses" due to flooding that took place on April 17 and 18, 2013, the lawsuit states.
The potential danger of failing to properly manage stormwater and sanitary sewer systems "was foreseeable and greatly outweighed the practicability and cost of proper management of its sewers," the lawsuit states.
The governments should have been prepared for a higher volume of rain that would fall more intensely and for a longer duration due to climate changes during the past 40 years, the lawsuit states.
Climate change is shaping up to be really expensive. So who picks up the tab? That’s the issue in a lawsuit filed recently by Farmers Insurance against Chicago and its suburbs.It's one thing for Republicans, looking down from their shiny palaces on the hill, not to care if the people living in the lowlands have to pay for flood damage, but when your Oligarch or Corporate masters start having to pay, well, we're about to see how that works out. Marco Rubio sure picked a bad week to come out as a science denier.
Andrew Logan looks at the insurance industry for Ceres, a non-profit that coordinates private-sector efforts to address climate change.
“I think what the insurers are saying is: ‘We’re in the business of covering unforeseen risks. Things that are basically accidents,’” Logan says. “‘But we’re now at a point with the science where climate change is now a foreseeable risk.’”
“Even if a city is likely to win a lawsuit, it still is going to have to spend quite a bit in defending itself,” he says. “And it might just be better for everybody involved for cities to take climate change seriously.”
But one of the worst parts of the Republican climate change denial tax is the hidden tax on American taxpayers from things in the U.S. budget like crop insurance.
In any case, taxpapyers are on the hook for climate-related disruption of US food production—mainly in annual outlays for crop insurance. In February 2013, the same month that the USDA released its bleak assessment on global warming, the Government Accountability Office released a statement warning about the federal government's "fiscal exposure to climate change," including the crop insurance program.I have to admit that it kinda makes me twinge to hear someone deny global warming with one breath and in the next, say that can't make it without the financial help the government is providing because of the effects of global warming.
Based on USDA data, if the current version of the farm bill were extended ten years into the future, even without expansions under debate, crop insurance would cost $8.41 billion per year, or $84.1 billion total, according to Jim Langley of the Congressional Budget Office. With the expansions the projected costs rise to about $99 billion. And that figure does not account for recent climate-related impacts on crop yields, including the drought of 2011 and 2012 in Texas and the midwest.
According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, taxpayer subsidies for crop insurance averaged $3.1 billion annually between 2000-2006, but have more than doubled to an average of $7.6 billion for 2007-2012.
But they don't talk about global warming. They talk about drought, which is something their elders survived in the 30s and 50s by dint of off-farm work, gardens, and butchered hogs. Even those who monitor climate science and allow themselves an occasional "sinking feeling," as one farmer put it, are constrained by the stubborn optimism that is necessary for farming. If you thought more than one year out, one told me, "you couldn't get out of bed in the morning."
So what if the government were to pull the plug on crop insurance? It would mark the end of independent farming on the southern plains, says Bodine, where his family's been farming almost 100 years. "There is a legacy here," he told me. "You do away with crop insurance, there's no way people can get financed."
So not only is climate change here today, it's costing big bucks and those costs are increasing rapidly. The Republican climate change denial tax is a tax on everyone, it's a tax that's increasing, and it could be one of the largest taxes Americans have ever seen.