The political priority for climate action
The deadly flood in Louisiana and the severe fire season in southern California in the United States are part of a worldwide rise in climate-related floods, storms, droughts, and wildfires. Their occurrence, alongside epic floods in China, drought in India, forest fires in Canada, and heat waves and floods in United Kingdom discredit opposition to climate action from a number of influential quarters.
Many policymakers view the financial cost of dealing with climate change as a drag on economic growth. But the mounting damages from climatic disasters make it clear that it is the other way around: Climate inaction impedes growth. Moreover, many in developed nations have the mistaken notion that climate disasters only happen in faraway places. True, there have been more fatalities in developing countries, but deadly disasters are increasingly striking developed countries. Furthermore, some politicians, perhaps looking at long-run climate models, still have the false sense that climate change is a future phenomenon. But Earth’s 2015 temperatures were the warmest since records began in 1880, with 2016 set to be warmer.
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