Although I do not live in your district, I am your constituent because your decisions affect me; indeed, your decisions about climate change affect the entire world. As the world is experiencing unprecedented heat and wildfires, along with other impacts of climate change, your concern about inflation seems short-sighted, to put it mildly. According to NOAA, the U.S. has already experienced nine weather/climate disasters with costs exceeding $1 billion each this year, which have had significant economic impacts to the affected communities. Between 1980 and 2021, the annual average climate-related disaster totaled fewer than eight events, while the average over the last five years has increased to almost 18. Who pays for these disasters? Taxpayers, of course.
The Office of Management and Budget noted as recently as April 22, 2022, that “The impacts of climate change on businesses and communities are broad; escalating costs, and lost revenue as a direct or indirect result of a changing climate is significant and varied. Across the United States, estimated damages from a subset of storms, floods, wildfires, and other extreme climate-related weather events have already grown to about $120 billion a year over the past five years … Some of the most severe harms from climate change will fall disproportionally upon socially vulnerable populations…” I would think this would be of particular concern in a state like West Virginia, where almost 16 percent of the population lives in poverty.
A recent Deloitte Economic Institute analysis shows that an inadequate response to climate change could cost the U.S. economy $14.5 trillion in the next 50 years, along with a loss of nearly 900,000 jobs. Conversely, the U.S. economy could gain $3 trillion if it rapidly decarbonizes during this period and could add nearly 1 million more jobs to the U.S. economy by 2070.
The economics are clear — tackling climate change now, while it is still possible to prevent the worst from happening, will have long-term economic benefits that far outweigh any short-term concerns about inflation. I ask you to take action immediately to implement President Biden’s climate change agenda before it is too late.