Here in the U.S., if a 20-inch downpour floods our homes—as people in Louisiana recently experienced—flood insurance can help us rebuild. But when massive floods hit Pakistan in 2010, half the country was underwater. Twenty million people lost their homes or crops. They didn’t have flood insurance.
Farmers growing corn in the U.S. have crop insurance to get them through when drought scorches their crops. There is no insurance for farmers in Malawi, who are living through a devastating drought that created a national food security emergency across much of Africa.
The convenience of air conditioning in the U.S. gave birth to our Sun Belt boom. But air conditioning is a scarce convenience in India and the rest of south Asia, where thousands were killed during heat waves this year and last year when temperatures soared above 120 degrees.
Putting a price on carbon pollution is a powerful economic tool that can save us money in the long run—and result in cleaner air, more reliable energy, and safer, healthier communities.
4. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Finally, getting down to net zero carbon emissions will require everyone to do his or her part.
Farmers can adopt best practices for their fertilizer applications. Building owners can turn down the air conditioning on the hottest summer days. Cities can adopt smart growth policies to reduce sprawl and traffic. Colleges, hospitals and small manufacturing plants can move to more efficient combined heat and power systems. Urban natural gas companies can plug their methane leaks.