Often economics is played as in opposition to environmental concerns. This article suggests that is poor thinking.http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/24-1
The giant reinsurance company Munich Re, which has gathered the world’s most comprehensive database of natural disasters, concludes that worldwide, “Floods have more than tripled since 1980, and windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise can only be explained by global warming.”
Floods, fires, droughts, and storms related to climate change are devastating not only to health and the environment, but also the US economy. Superstorm Sandy alone caused an estimated $80 billion in damage. The drought that affected 80% of US farmland last summer destroyed a quarter of the US corn crop, stalled transportation on the Mississippi River, raised food and energy prices nationwide, and did at least $20 billion damage to the economy.
What does all this have to do with jobs? Consider Sandy. According to Mark Zandi, the Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytic’s: “Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls.” What kind of jobs? “The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm.”
But isn’t that kind of job loss just temporary? Consider hurricane Katrina. In 2004 the New Orleans region had 671,000 jobs. Katrina wiped out 129,000 of them — about twenty percent. In 2011, the region had 90,000 fewer jobs than on the eve of Katrina.
The economic threat of climate change isn’t limited to hurricanes. Heat waves increase energy costs and cause droughts, which kill crops and increase food prices. Floods destroy houses, businesses, and infrastructure. Closed businesses and lost earnings represent an economic loss that can never be recovered. The devastating health effects of extreme weather like heat waves and floods not only harm individuals but represent a cost for the whole economy.