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Why Does Climate Change Matter?



Source: Wikimedia

China has been suffered from the severe flooding which affected 1.2 million people in southern China’s Guangdong province last week. At the same time, there was also a by all accounts “catastrophe” of flooding Florence that attacked North Carolina.

Both are showing a warning sign of climate change, due to carbon emissions which lead to a higher temperature. More importantly, recent disasters drive our eyes back to environmental issues on which the globe could find common purpose.

Source: SrA Kyle Hagan | Air National Guard

The Environmental Protection Agency released a rollback of an Obama-era regulation to methane leak on Tuesday. New rules ask the company to fix methane leaks of oil and gas drillers within 60 days instead of 30.

Various declarations show it is not only foreboding the worst environmental health but also harmful to the economy. On the contrary, some Economists claim that it is not always the case.

Gregery Hunter, who is an Economics professor from California State Polytechnic University, specifically focuses on environmental economics. He has the ability to come up with an opinion that the connection between environment and economic growth is very speculative.

It is possible for the United States to have a positive impact on the economic growth because of the new regulation. The reason is that reducing the inspections of methane leak could to some extent create more jobs for the nation.

“From just the perspective of United States, having more methane and its use in the economy should be beneficial for the economic growth.

The damages from additional methane should be small while benefits should be relatively large.  The marginal improvement of the environment tends to be costlier and the benefits tend to be smaller,” Hunter explains.

However, he expounds that reducing the methane regulations should not be a big concern from the climate perspective. “The climate change issue should be global, and it does not make sense that only one country tries to cut off emissions while others don’t. That would still possibly result in a growth of total amount in emissions. But to forecast the accurate impact, we still need to analyze particular data,” he further said.

Source: Wikimedia

Furthermore, another economist, Carsten Lange, who is also from the same school, emphasizes that there is always both sides when it comes to the measurement of effect on the economy.

“It is beneficial when companies produce new green technology that increases the exportation.  However, that would be inevitably costly when developing those green products.”

He elucidates that measuring the effect of climate on economic growth should focus on specific data on both benefit and cost sides.

Nevertheless, Carsten Lange mentions the devastating climate change would be definitely harmful to the economy.

“Because it would destroy our lands and increase the cost of our health,” he states.

A recent report from UN seems to have coincidently verified this assertion. According to the report, climate change led 821 million people in malnourishment in 2017, a 0.73% increase from 2016 (815 million). What’s more, it is the climate change which affects rainfall patterns that negatively affect farming, especially the production of crops.

By: Grace C. Sui

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