Monday, June 30, 2014

Paulson Calls for Climate Action including a Carbon Tax

Henry Paulson, is one of several prominent people behind the report, Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States.

Paulson is a Republican who was secretary of treasury under George Bush, he describes climate change as something that everybody must face regardless of their political allegiances. "[I]t’s going to be increasingly be difficult for anybody, regardless of party, to say there isn’t a problem," Paulson said. He goes on to say that we must act as we really have no choice, "the cost of inaction is quite high, because it's - it's actual radical risk taking."

"We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked,” Paulson wrote. “I feel as if I’m watching as we fly in slow motion on a collision course toward a giant mountain. We can see the crash coming, and yet we’re sitting on our hands rather than altering course."

Paulson said it would be folly for America to remain heavily invested in a carbon-intensive economy and he specifically called for a carbon tax.

"[S]ome people that oppose it [a carbon tax] are opposing it because they don't like the government playing a big role." Paulson told Fareed Zakaria. "And, you know, the perverse aspect of that is, frankly, those that are resisting taking action now are guaranteeing that the government will be playing a bigger role, because we're seeing now and we're going to see an increasing number of natural disasters, Mother Nature acts. We have forest fires, we have floods, we have big storms and storm surges, we have killer tornadoes. And what happens? When those events occur, one part of society gets hit particularly hard, and government comes in. And that's the role of government. Government should come in, but we all pay."

Related Articles
New Report on the Costs of Delaying Action on Climate Change
Acting on Climate Change: A Cost Benefit Analysis
Risky Business: The Costs of Climate Change in the US
Video - Overview of the Risky Business report
Video - The Risky Business report (Michael Bloomberg)

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