Perhaps the only thing more dangerous than the toxic things the petulant president says, is what he doesn’t say.
When he promised his supporters a big beautiful wall to keep the icky Mexicans out and Mexico would pick up the tab, he didn’t say that some of his supporters would end up living on the Mexican side of that wall.
But Trump’s insistence that climate change is a myth the Chinese are using to bring America goes beyond satisfying the wants of a few of his supporters. The Administration erased every reference, every stitch of scientific research on climate change, hoping that once dumped in that inconvenient truth memory hole, they’ll be gone for good.
That may be true of Trump’s Twitter tantrums about powerful women on early morning talk Cable. But climate change is another matter because it isn’t “just weather” or something to mock every time it snows. The consequences will attack the economy in ways that will further exacerbate income inequality and the inequality.
A new study examines the consequences of climate change in dollars, cents and drops in the GDP. The most striking thing about this study is the states that will be hit the hardest are largely the same states where Trump is popular.
According to the study, published in Science
The combined value of market and nonmarket damage across analyzed sectors—agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, and labor—increases quadratically in global mean temperature, costing roughly 1.2% of gross domestic product per +1°C on average. Importantly, risk is distributed unequally across locations, generating a large transfer of value northward and westward that increases economic inequality. By the late 21st century, the poorest third of counties are projected to experience damages between 2 and 20% of county income (90% chance) under business-as-usual emissions (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5).
A simpler way of saying this is income inequality will increase as a result of climate change. According to the study’s projections, the poorest third of counties will experience damage of between 2 and 2-% of the county’s income under the status-quo emissions.
That doesn’t sound like a big deal because these numbers are a national average. The problem is all states will not be affected by climate change equally.
The New York Times explains, “The worst-hit counties — mainly in states that already have warm climates, like Arizona or Texas — could see losses worth 10 to 20 percent of G.D.P. or more if emissions continue to rise unchecked.”
As if the attack on economic opportunity wasn’t enough, climate change denial comes with other costs. Nationwide increases in the cost of energy can be expected. In the most severely affected states productivity is likely to go down, especially in jobs that involve working outdoors – like construction.
The reasons have nothing to do with conspiracy theories and everything to do with the fact that rising temperatures are more destructive in places that are already hot and with it comes a ricochet effect that begs the question: is this what you want to leave for your children?
The reality of this study is Trump, not China is bringing America down and in a manner that is going to do the greatest harm to the people who erroneously trusted and voted for him. Chants, defending his temper tantrums and erasing research won’t change that.
Image: The New York Times