The Cost Benefit Analysis of Climate Change Legislation: Future Generations Will Thank You
By Goodman, H. A.
The latest talking point of climate change skeptics is the desire for a detailed cost benefit analysis. Sen. Marco Rubio recently claimed, “There has to be a cost-benefit analysis... Is there anything government can do about it that will actually make a difference?” During a Meet the Press debate with Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Rep. Marsha Blackburn stated that, “one of the things that we have to remember is cost/benefit analysis has to take place.” At the heart of this political debate is the viewpoint that new environmental legislation would lead to “the final nail in the coffin of the American middle class.” On the other end of the spectrum, 97 percent of climate scientists believe climate change “is happening and is human caused.” In addition, scientific organizations like the IPCC and the U.S. National Climate Assessment Committee have issued firm warnings about the economic dangers of unmitigated climate change. These warnings are often difficult to quantify; especially when the unimaginable costs of extreme weather become a way of life. World-renowned scientist Michiu Kaku has stated that, “100-year forest fires, 100-year droughts, 100-year floods, 100-year hurricanes” could become the norm as a result of increased greenhouse emissions and a changing climate due to human activity. Therefore, a true cost-benefit analysis must entail not only the short term economic fears of conservatives, but also the impact on future generations of Americans