Putting a price on climate: An intro to the climate economics

[Mahin asked me to have a backup page ready in case the ad doesn’t come in. I have heavily edited this piece but it could really benefit from a stern eye. Particularly, I want to know if I should include more nuance on the angle of policy and governance. I’m working on it now, on the side, but I would like someone to have a look at the piece as is. I might be too picky lol. Thanks!]

could cut ‘the’ in the headline

The cost of the climate crisis is often associated with the natural disasters and weather changes that come with it — but according to economists, the price of this crisis could manifest in the prices of the things you buy. could be snappier to say the ‘cost of the crisis’ in the second clause

The economics behind the climate crisis can play a key role in informing governance, policy and public opinion. The Ubyssey sat down with experts to learn more about the impact of economic principles on the environment, and the many costs of the climate crisis.

The cost of climate change climate crisis?

The climate crisis has resulted in a slew of detrimental effects, including more frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels. Not only are these events tragic, but they are also costly.

A 2020 Nature report has suggested that for every year that climate mitigation practices are delayed, the cost of reaching global temperature targets increases substantially. According to a map constructed by Swiss Re Institute, which models the “index of GDP loss potential from chronic climate risk by 2048,” Canada is considered relatively resilient compared to other countries, but it could still face a hit to its economy.

Within Canada, some communities disproportionately face the negative consequences of the climate crisis.

Dr. William Cheung, a professor at the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, researches the effects of climate change on fisheries distribution. On a global scale, the could cut the? increasing ocean temperatures in tropical regions result in reduced fish stocks and potential catches. This has negative effects on the food supply, especially for developing countries that do not have the capacity to deal with the decrease in the availability of food.

For the First Nations people in BC, fisheries are very important culturally, nutritionally and economically. Cheung could cut has has found that First Nations communities can be disproportionately impacted by climate change due to their strong dependence on seafood. Even you could cut even? it doesn’t do much as a transition here within First Nations communities, those in the south southern BC? may be more impacted compared to those in the north because of the difference in the rate they are exposed to the impacts of climate change on their fish stocks.this last sentence is a little confusing, specifically the rate? maybe try to simplify this sentence a bit

These detrimental economic losses are already being observed in First Nations communities. A 2016 publication by Cheung and colleagues projected that BC First Nations communities could lose between $6.7 and $12 million annually? per year by 2050 due to the climate crisis’ impact on the fishing industry.

Looking through the greenhouse

A major contributor to the climate crisis is rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2016 report. When released into the atmosphere, greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, act as tiny insulators, trapping heat and altering the planet’s climate.

Now, consider a fundamental economic principle known as the law of supply and demand, which describes how prices are determined in the economy. This model boils down to the goods and services that consumers are willing to pay for (supply), and the public’s relative need for these products (demand). To put it simply, the less expensive something is, the more the demand for it will be. The opposite effect is also true.

Greenhouse gas emissions can be modelled within this framework, as they are by-products of either the production of goods and services or their consumption.

imo there isn’t a clear connection between the point above (That greenhouse gasses follow a law of supply and demand (which i’m also a tad confused about) and the idea that environmental impacts should be factored into costs)

But some economists consider this model of price determination to be incomplete. When we look at the price of an item or service, the environmental cost of that product is often not included. Though we often think about “cost” in the immediate sense, such as the price of a good, there is also a long-term cost that often manifests as detrimental, could cut these commas around this phrase and expensive, impacts on the environment.

In an interview with The Ubyssey, Dr. Werner Antweiler, a professor of environmental economics, described that? the associated environmental cost of a product or service are not generally visible to the consumer, since it is not incorporated into the price.

This is where the “true cost economics” model comes into play, where the cost of the negative effects of a good or service is included in the asking price.

According to Antweiler, there are numerous policies that be implemented to encourage actual costs to reflect environmental ones. This includes fuel economy standards, carbon taxes, and cap and trade systems like those seen in European Union.

“Essentially we need government action to effectively make sure that you're not over generating these greenhouse gases,” he said. “We have climate change to worry about, and economic instruments are needed.”

Future steps

Antweiler believes that the most important step to combat climate change is to put an appropriate price on greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide. If the carbon price is too low, he emphasized we are not going to see adequate changes.

“When the carbon price was introduced here in British Columbia people said that the carbon emissions are still going up. Why isn’t this working? Well at $10 or $20 a ton, of course, it wasn't working to the extent. It was dampening the increase, but it wasn't actually bringing us down,” said Antweiler. “The prices we need are significant.”

In Antweiler’s opinion, policies should be implemented to change consumer behaviour to consume fewer fossil fuels and shift to cleaner technologies like renewable energy. Government policies should also foster innovation into new technologies and methods that will drive the solution that is needed at a global scale.

There are also moves that individuals can make to facilitate change. He emphasized voting for government and policies, as well as taking personal steps to cut back on certain things that are known to be particularly carbon-intensive than others. any examples?

“It's the routine activities that we do every day that have a much larger footprint than when you fly and visit your relatives once a year,” he said. “So, it's important to put the right measure on what is a really significant footprint and what are the relatively small footprints.”