Campaign Talk Is Cheap, Real Climate Leadership Is Priceless

I recently called on Senators McCain, Clinton, and Obama to return to their day jobs long enough to actively support the global warming bill that will likely come to a Senate vote next week. Now a New York Times editorial is doing the same. It’s becoming more and more obvious that any delay in tackling global warming--even a pause while one of those candidates becomes president--will cost the American economy dearly.

In 2006, the Stern Report drew a similar conclusion about the economy of the entire globe. Now we have news about the American economy in particular. Last week, a study done by researchers at Tufts University (and co-sponsored by NRDC) found that the cost to America of doing nothing about global warming could range from $1.9 trillion to $3.8 trillion annually by 2100.

In other words, inaction may be politically expedient, but it is not cheap.

For seven years, Bush justified his paralysis on global warming by saying the science wasn’t clear. That canard has been soundly defeated, so the president has turned more recently to the claim that tackling global warming will bankrupt the economy.

This latest Bush defense is as invalid as the scientific-doubt one. As the New York Times points out, every serious study shows that taking action to curb global warming will not damage the economy. In fact, most show that a well-constructed program could generate economic gains for the economy as a whole and for individual consumers.

So once again I want to remind the presidential candidates that campaign talk may be cheap, but actually steering America away from a climate-induced depression and into a cleaner, more sustainable economic future is priceless.