As climate change rapidly spirals out of control, big business is preparing for the inevitable. According to a new study from the environmental organization CDP, at least 1,300 corporations — including Goldman Sachs, Disney and Microsoft — either have an internal carbon pricing plan or are about to put one in place.
The thinking here is simple. At some point or another (and hopefully sooner rather than later) we, as a civilization, are going to have to institute a carbon tax on all fossil fuel emissions. It’s the most practical way to stop climate change, and it’s the only way to recoup the costs of all the damage Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas have done and continue to do to our planet. Giant corporations like Microsoft know this, and so they want to be as prepared as possible for the day when they too have to start paying for their emissions or the increased cost of energy produced by fossil fuels.
This should be a wake-up call to everyone about just how real the crisis we’re facing really is. These corporations are conservative and self-interested by nature, and they wouldn’t be adding extra costs to their budgets unless they thought they had to. Factoring in the cost of another tax is literally the last thing they want to do, but in the long run, having a functioning society is better for their bottom line than a society devastated by climate change, so they’re sucking it up and going forward with their carbon pricing plans. Welcome to the future.
Accepting the reality of climate change and the financial, social and political challenges it presents is something every single company, every single government and every single agency is going to have do in the coming years and decades. Corporations like Goldman Sachs, Disney and Microsoft are getting a head start on this with their internal carbon pricing plans.
So is the Pentagon, with its warnings that climate change represents a grave threat to national security, and so is the insurance industry, with its urgent reminders that extreme weather events could bankrupt many providers. Basically anyone with any reason to worry about the future — financial, political, you name it — accepts the reality of climate change and the necessity of doing something about it.
And then there’s the Republican Party. The so-called Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln, is the only major political party in the developed world that denies man-made climate change. Despite all the evidence, despite the fact that the past 16 months have been the hottest on record, despite the fact that we’re now seeing 1,000-year weather events on monthly basis — despite all this, the Republican Party still refuses to accept reality.
Sure, there a few outliers like Lindsey Graham, who say they acknowledge the existence of climate change, but they’re few and far between. As a whole, the Republican Party remains a den of denialism.
So why is that? Why, when even the Pentagon acknowledges climate change, do Republicans deny it?
The answer, of course, is money. The fossil fuel industry donates overwhelmingly to Republicans, and in exchange for this flood of campaign money, Republicans do its bidding. It’s that simple.
This isn’t just the corruption of politics; it’s the perversion of politics.
At a time when the human race is facing the greatest threat in the history of civilization, a threat that could end all life as we know it, one of the two most powerful political parties in the most powerful country on Earth pretends like that threat doesn’t even exist.
If the purpose of politics is to discuss the most important issues of our day and find a way to solve them, then we are failing miserably. It’s time to get money out of politics once and for all.
After all, the future of the planet is at stake.