It’s easy for climate change deniers to ignore the science behind global warming. If you’re not a farmer whose crops have been decimated by our country’s interminable drought, or if you haven’t lost your home to a frankenstorm, choosing to believe that climate change is made up or unproven can help you feel insulated from its consequences.
But a new video from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project proves that whether you believe in the science or not, global warming is not only affecting your daily life, it’s costing you dearly.
The Price of Carbon is the latest in a series of videos from the environmental advocacy organization. It details how taxpayers—not big industry—have been footing the bill for our ecological downward spiral. While the U.S. fiscal budget crisis is terrifying, it’s the continued carbon budget crisis that should be enough to send taxpayers into a full-blown panic.
Extreme weather events over just the last two years have proven to be outrageously expensive—both in terms of lives lost and dollars wasted. In addition to 1,107 tragic fatalities, up to $188 billion in damage was caused by the severe weather crises of 2011 and 2012.
And it’s getting worse. In 2012, 3,527 monthly weather records were broken for heat, rain, and snow in the U.S. Amazingly, 34,008 daily high temperature records were set or tied throughout 2012, compared to just 6,664 daily record lows—a ratio of five-to-one.
So far, Hurricane Sandy alone resulted in a $65 billion bill, and that came during a time when the country was already reeling from severe budget cuts. As a nation, we’re struggling to keep our children fed, let alone survive a continuing assault on our environment. And yet, American citizens continue to pay.
Why aren’t Big Oil and Big Coal—the very industries causing the pollution—picking up the tab? Taxpayers haven’t demanded it yet. That’s the point of The Price of Carbon—to spark a dialogue and incite a movement where individuals insist that those destroying the environment are the same ones paying to clean it up.
In addition to sharing The Climate Reality Project’s videos, readers can also make use of Reality Drop, the group’s recently launched social media tool that empowers individual news readers with the ability to challenge climate change deniers.
We’re falling into a black abyss, where our financial and environmental crises are increasingly entangled and the results explosive. Until we demand accountability from the industries causing it and from those denying it, our downward spiral will quicken.
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A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and medical writer. In addition to reporting the weekend news on TakePart, she volunteers as a web editor for locally-based nonprofits and works as a freelance feature writer for TimeOutLA.com. Email Andri | @andritweets | TakePart.com