Your view: Congress ignoring effects of global warming

October 1st, 2017 5:06 pm

As Congress proposes a $1.5 trillion tax cut, which they say will be paid by hypothetical “future” economic growth, it should consider this:

Hurricane Harvey’s damage is expected to cost Texas around $180 billion dollars. Irma is expected to cost Florida $50 billion. Wildfires in the west, to date, cost $2 billion in 2017. This doesn’t account for the cost of tornadoes, flash floods and heat waves.

In the last 150 years, we have burned about 2,000 billion tons of carbon, driving the planetary temperature up by 1.2 degrees Celsius. That is dangerously close to the 1.5-degree limit that scientists say we dare not exceed. Observe the rapid increase in global extreme weather events.

If we hope to keep the planetary temperature under the 1.5-degree limit, we can burn only 162 billion more tons of carbon. The critical issue is, as of 2011 we have 2,795 billion tons of carbon in inventory ready to burn — that’s 17 times more fossil fuel than we can burn if we expect to survive. If we burn that much, it may drive the planetary temperature to at least 6 degrees Celsius higher, rendering the planet uninhabitable for many creatures, including us.

For every degree Celsius rise in temperature the earth draws and holds 7 percent more water vapor in the atmosphere, so as the atmosphere heats up, all that moisture makes storms more destructive. As the song goes, ba-ba-baby you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Congress is banking on future economic growth to float their tax cuts while their economic policies are sterilizing the planet. This policy is incredibly unsound considering the ravages of climate change will impede the very economic growth Congress is counting on to pay for it.

Richard Whiteford