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Time for the Fossil Fuel Industry to Pay for Their Waste

(Photo: Mikko Itälahti / Flickr)

We all know that banksters only care about the bottom-line, so only the threat of losing massive year-end bonuses could make them freak out, right? And therefore they shouldn’t care about climate change, because that has nothing to do with banking, right?


Banksters are now freaking out about climate change, too, because it’s going to hit their bottom-line, and hard.

Climate change has the potential to devastate economies, and if that happens, banks will be devastated too.

On Wednesday, the president of the World Bank said that the world should stop arguing about whether humans are the cause of climate change, and instead start taking action to curb climate change’s devastating effects.

At a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in London yesterday, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said that there was 97-98 percent agreement in the scientific community that global warming and climate change are real, and that they are caused by human activity.

Kim went on to say that, “If you disagree with the science of human-caused climate change you are not disagreeing that there is anthropogenic climate change. What you are disagreeing with is science itself.”

Governments across the globe have already taken some actions to combat climate change. Many have agreed to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

But the banksters at the World Bank are saying that isn’t enough – and they’re right.

Jim Yong Kim noted in his speech that, as extreme weather events continue to get worse and more prevalent, public opinion about climate change should start to change.

Referring to the United States, Kim said that, “As extreme weather events occur (such as) in the mid-west and Hurricane Sandy etc, other legislators will come around.”

Kim then went on to talk about how China, the world’s second largest economy, is already taking the issues of global warming and climate change very seriously.

In fact, while China is the biggest emitter of CO2 in the world, and is still continuing to build dirty coal power plants, it is also investing millions of dollars in solar and wind power, more than any other country in the world.

China’s efforts to rely more on renewable and cleaner energy should be a positive sign that a global agreement on climate change can be reached, according to Kim.

China is working hard to develop its own national carbon market, and this week, the country launched its first emissions trading scheme in the highly industrialized city of Shenzhen.

Yong Kim said that, “If we get China, the U.S and the EU to agree on a price for CO2 we will have a market mechanism to fight climate change. I hope a practical solution will happen before 2020.”

While the European Union has had a carbon market in place since 2005, and China is working feverishly to establish carbon emissions trading scheme, the same really can’t be said for the United States.

As world-renown environmental writer Bill McKibben pointed out in a Rolling Stone article last summer, the fossil-fuel industry is the only industry in the United States that doesn’t pay to have its waste disposed of.

Think about it.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you pay to have somebody to come by and pick up your leftovers.

If you’re an office manager, you pay have somebody recycle all of your used papers.

If you’re a construction company owner, you pay to have someone haul away all of the waste materials from a construction site.

But, with the good old fossil fuel industry, you and I are left to pay the costs for their waste.

And those costs come in the forms of higher food prices, thanks to climate change drive droughts, and massive cleanup efforts, thanks to climate change driven superstorms like Hurricane Sandy.

We don’t pay for restaurants to dispose of their trash, so why should we have to pay for Big Oil to dispose of theirs?

Yesterday, senior White House officials said that President Obama is preparing regulations that would limit CO2 emissions from existing power plants.

According to the New York Times, if those regulations go through, they would mark “the most consequential climate policy step he could take.”

But that’s not enough.

America needs a carbon tax – and it needs it now.

Some way of accounting for the real costs of carbon is desperately needed if we want to have any hope of combatting the greatest threat that this planet has ever faced.

During his speech in Berlin, Germany yesterday, President Obama told the crowd that the United States and the rest of the world had a moral imperative to take the “bold action” needed to slow the rates of global warming and climate change.

The president went on to say that, “The grim alternative affects all nations — more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise. This is the global threat of our time. We have to get to work.”

President Obama is right.

It’s time for us to start taking the bold actions needed to save our planet.

And that all starts right now.

For once, let’s put the interests of Big Oil aside, and put a price on carbon waste, like carbon dioxide, to help preserve the future of the only planet we can call home.

We have 5 days to raise $39,000 — we’re counting on your support!

For those who care about justice, liberation and even the very survival of our species, we must remember our power to take action.

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