Go Big On Climate Action

Congress is debating the biggest and most important climate and clean energy legislation our country has ever known.

Predictably, the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and other Washington D.C. lobby groups are dusting off their tired talking points and once again claiming our country can’t afford it.

As an employee of a business helping home and business owners adapt to the adverse effects of accelerating climate change, I say we can’t afford NOT to invest in clean energy, clean vehicles and climate resilience through the Build Back Better Act. It’s costing our economy too much to deal with climate disaster after disaster every single year.

Cost of Doing Nothing Continues to Rise

In the West, the biggest wildfire in history, the Dixie Fire, is still raging – one of a record 45,400 wildfires that have engulfed 3 million acres of America this year alone. Last year, wildfires caused $16 billion in damage in the West; this year the number is headed higher.

Meanwhile, in the East, crews are still mopping up after Hurricane Ida, which caused $95 billion in damage, including $31 million in costs to insurers. That’s after last year’s record hurricane season, which spawned so many storms we ran out of names for them.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, our country has endured nearly $100 billion in damage from climate-related disasters over the last twelve months alone. During the 2010s it was about $85 billion per year. What about the 1980s you ask? It was about $18 billion annually – a fifth of what we spend every year now.

As a businessperson, it’s easy to see those types of losses are simply unsustainable. The good news is that it’s also easy to see the economic benefits from the Build Back Better Act.

Cleaning up our electricity system could create millions of jobs and drive billions in private investments. Expanding electric vehicles and charging stations would do the same. Federal Investments in clean energy R&D would help America regain its competitiveness with the rest of the world.

The US Chamber says businesses can’t afford a slight increase in corporate taxes to help pay for the costs of stabilizing our climate-disaster riddled economy.

Responsible business people know we must all step up to address the economic costs of climate change and seize the economic opportunities that come with a cleaner economy. This businessperson says we can’t afford to do otherwise.

Thank you for reading. 

David Stearns – Allterra Solar