Will the Economics of Climate Change Alter the Politics?

After years of climate change denial by conservatives and muzzling by liberals, Superstorm Sandy made abundantly clear the economic costs of inaction. Will that be enough to spur political action?
November 10, 2012, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Robert Simmon, data courtesy of NASA/NOAA GOES

Tina Rosenberg looks at the shifting winds of the climate change debate, as the United States, one of the only countries that can actually lead global efforts to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions but has generally dithered on doing anything, is now confronted with its effects, and costs. Could Sandy "be a fix for the lack of political will to do something about [climate change]"?

"Until this year, the political calculus about climate change had only one side. The oil and coal companies made sure everyone knew about the costs of action. But few people mentioned the costs of inaction. Now they cannot be ignored," says Rosenberg. 

"What Hurricane Sandy has made plain is that there is a balance. We're already paying for climate change, and that tax is only going to rise. Advocates for action can make the same argument as those who mock climate change: to do nothing is to be anti-jobs, anti-growth, anti-American values."

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Published on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in The New York Times
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