Sally White: The high cost of climate change

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary

We learned last week from the Government Accountability Office that the impacts of climate change have already cost taxpayers some $350 billion over the past decade. And that amount does not include recent hurricanes and wildfires!

We are also hearing, on a daily basis, that those in charge of caring for our environment are having a rip-roaring time deleting the rules and regulations that were set in place to put a stop to the continued warming trend. That this trend has a human cause can no longer be denied.

There are those who are quite happy that the stock market has been on a gradual rise, corresponding directly with the elimination of environmental protections. They look upon any rule that slows down their “freedom” to make money as something to be eliminated.

What they have forgotten is the fact that their freedom ends where the freedom of others begins. These others have the right to breathe good air, drink clean water, and live in a safe environment.
Just because an industry or a business is large does not give it any more freedom than that of any single member of the populace as a whole.

We are all too familiar with the phrase “penny-wise and pound foolish,” and that seems to encapsulate this situation. Doing away with protections for living beings and the planet itself allows for less expensive processes to come into use, thus more profit, (penny wise).

The problem is that the damage done through lax regulations will only come back to bite us at a cost exponentially greater than the amount gleaned from disassociating with life-savings rules (pound foolish!).

The most unfortunate result of this situation is that, while it will be the industries and businesses freed from regulations who will glean the escalated profits, it will be the good old taxpayers, us, who will pay for the resulting damage.

As more people become ill and displaced due to poor air, unsafe water, dangerous working conditions, rising coastal waters, extreme wildfires and hazardous storms, the costs of these calamities continue to rise, and the economy as a whole will bear the brunt of these costs. That means you and me, the ever-present, ever-taxable taxpayers!

Now is time to make a huge fuss about what is going on in our administration. We need to complain about the gradual demise of long-fought-for rules, regulations and legislation, protections designed to care for people and the planet.
Contact your senators and representatives and let your opinions be known to them. Write to your newspapers, talk among your friends, join groups that are fighting to keep us our environment safe and livable.
We must express our opinions loudly and often!

Sally White is a Valencia resident.

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