Summary by Chad Tolman
The NY Times for June 22 had an excellent opinion piece by Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury from 2006 to 2009 and a Republican businessman, titled, The Coming Climate Crash. In it he draws an analogy between the crash of the financial markets in 2008 and the threat of a coming climate crash. He wrote,
“For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do.
“We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment andeconomy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.
“We need to act now, even though there is much disagreement, including from members of my own Republican Party, on how to address this issue while remaining economically competitive. They’re right to consider the economic implications. But we must not lose sight of the profound economic risks of doing nothing.
“The solution can be a fundamentally conservative one that will empower the marketplace to find the most efficient response. We can do this by putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide — a carbon tax. (emphasis added) Few in the United States now pay to emit this potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere we all share. Putting a price on emissions will create incentives to develop new, cleaner energy technologies.
“It’s true that the United States can’t solve this problem alone. But we’re not going to be able to persuade other big carbon polluters to take the urgent action that’s needed if we’re not doing everything we can do to slow our carbon emissions and mitigate our risks.”