Economic Engine of a Sinking Ship

Oilsands are stealing the headlines” and “Economics mean we must move pipeline plans forward – properly” (Vancouver Sun, 20 November) refer to IEA and Deloitte reports to say we must rely on oil-sands for our future.

For balance they might also have referred to reports this month from the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, the U.S. National Research Council, the Society of Actuaries, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

One sounds like a sky-is-falling nut when summarizing the costs these reports portray; displacement of populations, epidemics, pandemics, crop failures, ocean food chain risks, storms, droughts, floods, fires, etc. Yet these are not ravings of extremists and hiding our heads in the tar-sand won’t make these problems go away.

The Copenhagen Accord recognizes that global temperature increase should be below 2 degrees Celsius. PricewaterhouseCoopers states that “To give ourselves a more than 50% chance of avoiding 2 degrees will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonisation.” They warn that “Sectors dependent on food, water, energy or ecosystem services need to scrutinise the resilience and viability of their supply chains.

When todays children are adults in the world we have made for them, simply saying “I’m sorry” won’t be good enough.

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Note to me: Page 9, Society of Actuaries report

Note that the distribution of insured losses would be slightly different from that of economic losses. According to Swiss Re 1, weather related events have a huge impact on the global economy, and that cost is growing steadily. Over the last 40 years global insured losses from climate-related disasters have jumped from an annual USD 5 billion to approximately USD 60 billion in 2011.

There. Now I’ll be able to find that figure and it’s source when I need it.

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