While the cost of converting the planet to 100% renewables is somewhat easy to figure out, the actual monetary cost of inaction against climate change has been somewhat elusive. Personally the idea that within the next 100 years most coastal cities could become uninhabitable due to climate change is conceptually inconceivable, how do you put a dollar value on societal benefits of New York, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, et cetera? To borrow from the Mastercard add, quite literally, priceless.
However, a recently published study from Chris Hope at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, plonked a dollar value range between $80 Trillion and $400 Trillion, the somewhat more likely number hovering around $300 Trillion.
I haven’t yet gone through the paper in any detail, I simply read the summary from Think Progress, however this is one of those classic cases where I’m inclined to give the guy from Cambridge the benefit of the doubt and reserve absolute judgment for later.
Even on the low end of the scale at $80 Trillion, we’re talking that’s just shy of the total dollar figure to get the planet off of fossil fuels.
This is, at least as far as I’ve read, the first effort to quantify the cost of inaction, to put the inconceivable into a dollar figure.
(Photo Credit: Justin Lane/EPA)