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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

We may find out if Republicans actually do trust the free market.

For years, activists have been touting the fact that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is manmade, hoping that would inspire Republicans — who first advanced the idea of a cap-and-trade system to slow carbon emissions — to break their pledge to the Koch brothers and do something about the coming climate crisis.

It didn’t work.

A recent poll found a majority of Republicans — 58 percent — believe that climate change is a hoax. This explains why the right-wing media regularly laughs at the idea of doing anything to slow carbon emissions.

But there’s one group that seems to believe 100 percent that climate change is real and a serious threat to their existence. It’s the group that has the most to lose if we do nothing: the insurance industry.

The Weekly Standard‘s Eli Lehrer explains:

Indeed, if free-market conservatives really want evidence of climate change, they ought to look towards the insurance markets that would bear much of the cost of catastrophic climate change. All three of the major insurance modeling firms and every global insurance company incorporate human-caused climate change into their projections of current and future weather patterns. The big business that has the most to lose from climate change, and that would reap the biggest rewards if it were somehow solved tomorrow, has universally decided that climate change is a real problem. An insurance company that ignored climate change predictions could, in the short term, make a lot of money by underpricing its competition on a wide range of products. Not a single firm has done this.

In fact, a recent report from the Geneva Association, “Warming of the Oceans and Implication for the (Re)insurance Industry,” suggests that climate change is making certain regions — including Florida and the United Kingdom — uninsurable.

Lehrer argues that the free market way to deal with a free market problem is the same solution offered by pioneering climate scientist James Hansen — a carbon tax:

Since carbon emissions do present a real problem, simply repealing the current regulations without replacing them would be both unwise and politically impossible. The least-intrusive and most economically beneficial way to deal with the problem appears to be a carbon tax, particularly a revenue-neutral carbon tax that could be used to offset and/or replace other taxes.

According to that Koch pledge, which has been signed by a majority of Republicans in Congress, any carbon tax would have to be matched by an “equivalent amount of tax cuts.” But since President Obama’s speech on climate change in June the Koch agenda has become more strident. “Over the next several weeks, the online ads will alert activists to urge their lawmakers to block carbon taxes, support domestic production, and get government out of the way of abundant, affordable energy sources,” read a message recently posted on the website of their front group Americans for Prosperity.

But money talks. Perhaps when they can’t insure their Palm Beach homes, the cost of inaction will be too much for even this Republican Party.

Photo: Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research University Network via Flickr.com

  • John Pigg

    The reason that most conservatives argue adamantly against climate change is not so much because they don’t believe as it is they don’t want to pay for it. Acknowledging the problem requires developing some sort of policy.

    It’s far easier to claim that the science connecting humans and global warming is faulty. It should also be noted that Europe is not really wild about their carbon trading economy. But if we look at who the current polluters are, the US isn’t as high on the list as Russia or China.

  • Del Wasso

    Just wondering aloud… wouldn’t it do wonders for a Blue Dog Democrat’s chances for re-election in a 50/50 Red/Blue district to introduce legislation that would prevent Big Insurance companies from raising rates on folks due to climate change?

    I mean, using reverse psychology, that would kind of force the Insurance lobby to pull out their check book to force Congress to finally accept the science, would it not?

    It would also force the GOP to put up or shut up, too.

    STAND UP TO THE RADICAL RIGHT, AMERICA!
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/RockfordSOL/

    • Elisabeth Gordon

      I like your thought process except this part ~ “to introduce legislation that would prevent Big Insurance companies from raising rates on folks due to climate change? ”
      Whose interpretation gets listened to regarding what kinds of disastrous events are directly due to climate change? – sorta back to square one.

      • jim dorey

        simple… they stop insuring against -any- natural disaster. course, it’ll mean the people with ruined houses will be pestering fema for help.

    • Lovefacts

      Actually, I believe the Dems would stand a better chance of winning Southern and Western Red states if their ads paired rising insurance rates and the effects of global warming–floods, hurricanes, drought, lack of drinking water, and uncontrollable forest fires–and the Republican incumbents non-action. I’d go further, showing how the same incumbent wants to defund FEMA, so all repairs will fall on local businesses and homeowners. Then tailor the ads re disasters for the region and show how it’s impacted by global warming.

  • sigrid28

    Insurance too expensive in the South? Colonize Michigan and Wisconsin, the GOP resort destinations of the over-heated future, now being cleansed of undesirables by Republican governments totally subservient to the Koch brothers et al.

  • JDavidS

    I sincerely doubt that anything, short of Mother Nature kicking them in the nuts, will convince the right-wing(nuts) of climate change. It’s science. And everyone on the right knows that science is nothing more than voo-doo and leftist propaganda. “Why hell, boy…climate change, climate warming? My ass. Ice is as cold as it’s ever been.”

    • rkief

      Right, and speaking of ice, in his unceasing devotion to deny Global Warming , Charles Krauthammer is quoting the latest Fossil Fuel foible canned by the caterers to the ignorant – to wit: “Global temperatures have been flat for 16 years”

      This statement is true, as indicated in current climatological graphs, but if all that heat and CO2 emissions that we are producing aren’t heating up the air and Earth’s surface that much, what are they doing? They are melting all the world’s ice BEFORE raising the air, sea and ground temperatures. That heat required to change ice to water (or water to steam) is known as “latent heat,” and its effects are known to all scientists. Because of the Earth’s size, however, those changes are not readily apparent, but they are coming. The glaciers are rapidly receding, and when they have, no one will have the last laugh.

      • Allan Richardson

        Exactly! Ever watch the ice in a glass of iced tea melt? The temperature of the tea rises only slightly (and that is because of the changing concentration of the tea) until the ice COMPLETELY MELTS, then it starts to rise faster. And it takes as much energy to MELT a gram of ice as it takes to heat the gram of water, after melting, up to 80 degrees Celsius (or 176 degrees Fahrenheit). So when all the polar ice is gone, the sea temperature will rise faster. The good part is that hotter seas will absorb more carbon from the atmosphere and slow down further heating. The bad part is that the resulting acidic oceans will make it impossible for shellfish and coral to build their shells.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Don’t red state Republicans EVER stop being so “ignernt” or are they spending too much time doing the Drill Baby Drill and Spill Baby Spill dance? The climate does change…just not in 5 years time so radically. Keep digging deep into the bowels of the earth and you’ll get Mother Nature’s revenge…regurgitation and perpetual diarrhea.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    $352 billion spent in only 5 years on raging wildfires, tornadoes, massive flooding in central and eastern states and these dopies still feed at the table of denial. I guess when the GOP bull males finally wake up to why in only 5 years that kind of disaster relief has had to be spent, maybe these stupids of the right will give those flap mouths a rest already.

    • LauraNo

      As with the endless wars and tax cuts for the uber wealthy, Republicans are quite happy to spend/ waste any amount of tax dollars, just not one penny on actual people and their well-being.

  • Dominick Vila

    I doubt anyone or anything will persuade those who believed the oil company “scientists” that denied global warming when our polar caps and glaciers were melting at an unprecedented rate. The only thing that will convince them is when sea levels rise and our coastal cities are flooded. Unfortunately, it will be too late by then to take effective and cost effective measures. Needless to say, the “deciders” will blame everyone else for their myopic decision.

  • DurdyDawg

    “Evidence of Climate Change That May Finally Persuade Right-Wingers”…

    Don’t bet on it.. Even if they did come around to believe it there’s no way these people will consciously admit to any mistakes.. They’ll simply whine that the ‘Libs’ never gave them enough legitimate information that they could confirm then of course blame it all on the hated Obama and his socialist Democrats.

  • Mark Forsyth

    A prime case of None So Blind.Seems as though these bastards’ logic and reason must be angled like fish with bait.Well,we know they all bite on money,the trick is to wiggle the bait in just the right way.And don’t forget to sharpen the hook.

  • howa4x

    Republicans are the ones with their head in the sand and believe in everything from the oncoming rapture, to it’s really an oncoming ice age. There is a reason that the Koch bros fund an anti science group called the tea party. He found people who are willing to vote against the welfare of their children and grandchildren. That that is really something. The Koch bros care nothing about people especially children and especially if it interferes with them increasing their wealth. To them 60% of the children could die tomorrow and they would think more to eat for me. These are selfish greedy people who suffer from an acute mental illness and they have convinced the tea party to join them by being twice as ill. The tea party actually thinks that calling climate change a hoax is really protecting their children, and they think they are sane.

  • Allan Richardson

    The gun nut community is now having problems with reality as seen by the actuaries. The right wing plan to arm teachers in schools, based on the theory that bad guys will be afraid to bring guns into schools and shoot people if someone might be armed, has run into a financial roadblock: insurance premiums for “armed” public schools are quoted much higher than for “unarmed” schools! I wonder why? Oh yes, these hard hearted (one might venture CONSERVATIVE?) businesspeople have the figures and statistics that the states and federal government are not ALLOWED to collect, and they don’t like the numbers!

    Well, as Stephen Colbert once said, REALITY has a well known liberal bias. And thus, so do insurance companies.

    • Independent1

      Gun owners in general may find that owning a gun will cost them when/if they need insurance. In doing some checks for life, auto and home insurance, I’ve found that some insurance companies are begining to ask about gun ownership. I believe insurance companies are starting to realize that owning a gun raises the probablity of an accident occuring (someone being wounded or killed) in the residence where a gun is housed. There are around 101,000 gun accidents/incidents per year, with about 30,000 resulting in someone dying and over 70,000 with someone being non fatally injured. It can’t be long before gun owners will be hit with an added premium when they purchase almost any kind of insurance for the increased risk that owning a gun brings. Studies have shown that the spouse and kids of a gun owner run up to 5 times the risk of being killed by a gun.

  • silence dogood

    Even if the insurance companies were building reserves for climate change (and they are but to much less of a degree than you suggest and for reasons you do not state ) they do not attribute this reserve requirement to anything done by man.

  • commserver

    I find the system of selling carbon emission credits disgusting. There is no real reduction just money being made.