"Climate Change would be too expensive to fix"

Brief Responses to Climate Change Denialism Statements

CPSG 200 Science & Global Change Sophomore Colloquium

"Climate Change would be too expensive to fix"

There are those who posit that even if climate change was a real phenomenon and anthropogenic by nature, that the cost of alleviating the effects of climate change would be too high to be considered economically viable. This is a misguided belief that relies on several incorrect assumptions. When most discuss the economic impacts of fighting climate change, they usually turn towards the relatively high upfront costs of renewable and alternative energy sources. However, this view is shortsighted: while it is true that the initial cost of constructing a wind or solar power plant is higher than that of building a coal-burning power plant, it is simply less expensive over time to continue to extract energy from the wind and the sun than it is to continue to buy a limited fossil fuel. This, coupled with the fact that renewable energy has been and will continue to decrease in cost (as opposed to fossil fuel costs, which will increase) makes alternative energy sources the more frugal choice. Further, the idea that fixing climate change would be too expensive ignores the numerous negative economic impacts that climate change will cause. With worsening climate comes more frequent and intense storms, increased outbreaks of diseases and viruses, food shortages, land shortages, water shortages, living space shortages, damaged infrastructure, more geopolitical conflicts - the list goes on. All of these inevitable effects of climate change are expensive, and coupled with the humanitarian crises these impacts pose, we will also have to deal with the economic impacts they pose - economic impacts that could be easily avoided by aiming to fix climate change.

For More Information:

Darling, S.B, Sisterson, D.L. 2014. How to Change Minds about Our Changing Climate. The Experiment; New York. 200 pp.

Cook, J., dana1981. 2013-04-02. The true cost of fossil fuels. Skeptical Science. Date Accessed: October 15, 2017.

Contributed by: Kyle Reese, Lance Morris, Jon Gorczyca

Last modified: 23 October 2017