Friday, February 19, 2010

The cost of pollution

How much environmental damage do the world's largest companies cause? US$2.2 trillion, according to a draft UN report. That's the cost of their air pollution, water pollution, carbon, and deforestation - a cost being paid by the people of the world rather than those responsible for it. In other words, a direct environmental subsidy, which goes straight to their shareholders, and which amounts for about 30% of their total profits.

This cannot be allowed to continue. This is real damage, and it imposes costs on the public. Polluters, rather than the people, should pay those costs. And if this drives them under, then we are all better off as a result. Companies which are not "profitable" without massive hidden environmental subsidies were never profitable in the first place.