At a recent event in San Francisco, former Vice President Al Gore spoke about the economic benefits of dealing with climate change now, rather than putting it off or trying to avoid it altogether. According to Gore, one way to motivate people to fund research for and invest in new solutions to climate change is the shift the way we are looking at the problem. For some, the monetary motivation of framing climate change as “the single biggest investment opportunity in history” may help them get behind the cause.
How big does Al Gore estimate the solution of this problem to be? To put things in perspective, he claimed that “the sustainability revolution has the magnitude of the agricultural and industrial revolutions but the speed of the digital revolution.”
Al Gore’s Involvement In Climate Activism
Al Gore is not a newcomer to climate activism. Though his activism began when he was a politician, one of Gore’s more famous pushes for climate action was his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, released in 2006.
Now, Al Gore gives frequent talks all over the country. He also puts on a climate awareness event called “24 hours of reality”. This year’s event just occurred on this past Wednesday and Thursday.
So, What Is The Payoff?
It’s difficult to quantify the exact payoff of resolving the climate crisis. However, it is not too difficult to imagine the losses that would occur if current emissions and pollution rates continue.
The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that the global economy would undoubtably shrink. Current estimates hover around 3% in the next 30 years if climate change goes untreated.
However, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in August, the growth per capita could decrease by 10.5% by the end of the century without climate change action starting now.
A Problem Too Costly To Ignore
Letting the problem of global warming sit for the next 81 years could also have direct costs to nations across the world as we attempt to deal with repercussions. The most costly and evident now include dealing with natural disasters and increased premature death.
Other concerns include lost property on coasts due to rising sea levels and lost wages due to heat waves.
Specifically in the United States, The Fourth National Climate Assessment predicted some dire impacts by the end of the century. Some of the highest costs would come from heat-related deaths at an estimated $141 billion.
Another is lost wages in outdoor industries due to heat waves at $155 billion, and lost coastal property at $118 billion.
A Look Forward
The biggest reasons for fighting climate change shouldn’t be purely economical. Instead, they should be rooted in the ethical obligation of maintaining the planet for ourselves and our posterity. However, different arguments can spur more action and persuade a larger audience to fight for change.
Thus, looking at climate change from an economic perspective might help to foster changes to prevent tragedy.
If we deal with climate change effectively and with a strong commitment, then we can reap the benefits. If we let the problem sit and grow worse, then we will pay the price.