The Peterborough Examiner e-edition

Going green helps keep us out of the red

Alan Slavin, Otonabee

Many people, including some elected officials, complain that we can’t afford climate change actions because the cost of living is already not affordable.

What they ignore is that much of the increase in living costs is driven by the cost of climate change effects, and reducing climate change now is much cheaper than paying for future damages.

The Canadian Climate Institute, one of Canada’s primary research organizations on the effects of climate change, released a report entitled “Damage Control” in 2022, showing a drop in annual income of $720 per person by 2025 because of climate effects.

At the same time, household costs are rising because of climate change. Food prices are increasing due to floods and droughts, 0.5 to 1.8 percentage points annually within the decade. Home insurance costs rose about $80 per household last year alone, largely because of extreme weather damage.

Health and human costs are also rising because of fossilfuel pollution, extreme heat and diseases, such as Lyme disease migrating north as Canada warms. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment says that about 34,000 Canadians die prematurely every year from breathing fossil-fuel exhaust, more than that died in 2022 from COVID.

It’s cheaper to act now. A study by Queen’s University shows that, with no new international agreements to reduce carbon emissions, the physical cost alone by 2100 of climate damage would be twice as high as the cost of reducing emissions now to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees.

We must also be doing more to adapt to the changes already occurring from climate change.

Affordability is clearly a serious issue, but the data shows we must spend money now to keep living affordable. Nothing else makes sense.





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