What these disasters have in common is that they are all exactly the sort predicted by climate models—and they will get terrifyingly worse over coming years.
So who will cover the costs?
Who will pay for the first responders – for sheltering and relocating climate refugees and for rebuilding homes – businesses and infrastructure?
Our planet is quickly getting hotter – more volatile and more dangerous.
But Republicans are working to cut nearly $1 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and to give large corporations and the wealthy a big tax break.
So who should pay for the climate disasters?
A report published in early September by the journal Climatic Change helps pinpoint a possible answer.
According to the report 90 companies are responsible for 42 to 50 percent of the increase in the Earth’s surface temperature and 26 to 32 percent of sea level rise.
Some say we are all to blame for the climate crisis—at least all of us who get around in cars and planes.
But there are reasons these 90 companies owe a major debt to the entire planet.
First – many of them knew what damage they were causing.
According to the report more than half of the carbon emissions produced since the industrial revolution were emitted since 1986 – when the dangers of global warming were well-known.
But these companies buried their own research findings and doubled down on fossil fuel extraction.
Industry lobbyists and think tanks – flush with money from fossil fuel companies and their executives – distort our democracy – making government accountable to their interests rather than to We the People.
Third – by doing these things – these companies prevented action during the brief window of time between climate science becoming clear and it becoming too late to avert disaster.