Wednesday, January 06, 2010

War vs. Climate Change: The Comparative Costs

Here's some food for thought from a good Guardian Piece:

The costs of America's wars:

According to the National Priorities Project, the combined costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — initiated as a preventive war — since 2001 is, so far, $950 billion. In 2008 alone, war expenditures surpassed $710 billion. (They've since begun to fall.)

Spending on war equaled 4.8 percent of US GDP in 2008, double what the Stern review says is necessary to address the climate problem. 

The cost of solving climate change:

The United States' GDP, ranked at No. 2 in the world, came in at $14.44 trillion. Per capita, that's $46,900.

For the US, 2 percent of GDP equals $288 billion. Per person, that works out to about $938 yearly. It's not exactly nothing. But it's also not overwhelming. On a monthly basis — $78 per month — it's a little higher the price of the average cellphone plan.

Facts like this are unbelievably thought-provoking.  Yet they drive me nuts because we seem to be past the point where facts will win the public and, especially, political majority needed to pass strong climate change and clean energy legislation.

This comparison is powerful though, because it shows just how possible it is for us to solve our climate change and energy (and related economic, health, security and environmental) problems, and in doing so to give a huge, job-creating boost to the Green economy.

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