Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Climate change: $840 million

That's how much climate change cost us between 2007 and 2017, according to a recent report from VUW and NIWA:

A report by Victoria University and NIWA commissioned by The Treasury, which draws on international scientific peer reviewed evidence, has found that climate change related floods and droughts has cost the New Zealand economy at least $120M for privately-insured damages from floods and $720M for economic losses from droughts over the last 1
0 years. This is expected to be a conservative estimate due to the inclusion of only two weather-related hazards, the choices made regarding the attribution of droughts, the neglect of nonfinancial losses, and the use of insured
damages rather than full economic losses for some events.

Which doesn't sound like very much - a mere $84 million a year. Sure. But remember, this is going to get much worse. And the big driver - drought - is going to become an annual event. A decent drought costs the economy ~$1.5 - $2 billion, which the model currently attributes 20% of to climate change. But as we move further and further from historic weather patterns, that percentage is going to increase significantly, at the same time as drought frequency increases. By 2050, we're easily going to be looking at a billion dollars a year in costs from drought alone.

Which puts all of that whining from farmers about having to pay the cost of their emissions into perspective. They're the primary beneficiary of action to reduce climate change, in that drought costs fall primarily on them, but they're also the biggest objectors to actually doing anything about it. Effectively, they're expecting the rest of us to pay to save them - and pay them for the damage they suffer due to their own selfishness as well. But supporting self-interested, environmentally destructive leeches is not something the public is going to put up with for long. If farmers want our assistance, they need to show they're working on the problem, by paying the full cost of their emissions.