Friday, July 06, 2007

NYT: Fighting Global Warming Will be Expensive

A useful reminder from an unexpected source:

But for all the talk about warming, leading politicians have yet to educate their constituents (and their colleagues) about an unpleasant and inescapable truth: any serious effort to fight warming will require everyone to pay more for energy. According to most scientists, the long-term costs of doing nothing — flooding, famine, drought — would be even higher than the costs of acting now. But unless Americans understand and accept the trade-off — higher prices today to avoid calamity later — the requisite public support for real change is unlikely to build.

Energy is currently underpriced in part because its cost does not reflect the damage inflicted by fossil fuels. Underpricing leads to overconsumption. Worse, it leads to underinvestment in alternatives. As long as today’s energy is relatively cheap, there is little incentive for private firms to develop new fuels and technologies.

Show of hands -- how many thing energy is 'relatively cheap?'

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