Sunday, December 30, 2007

The next time some right-winger snarls about how environmental measures will cost us in economic progress and undue added expenses, remind them of this:
In July, the World Bank (along with SEPA) released a report saying that pollution costs China US$100 billion a year, or 5.8 percent of its gross domestic product (that's about half of China's own first rough estimates). When it was released in China, however, Chinese officials had succeeded in stripping the report of a more sobering number: 750,000 -- the number of premature deaths in China per year due to air and water pollution.
And note the World Bank used data from China's own EPA. Here we see where pollution has a monetary cost in the many billions, but also a cost in human lives. The right-winger may exclaim, "yeah, but that's China, not the U.S.," which would mean what exactly? The larger point is pollution has tremendous costs, no matter in what country it occurs.

Recall way back when the auto industry warned that the cost of installing seat belts in every car would be hugely expensive and jeopardize the rate of cars sold. Didn't happen. If anything, reports show that the non-use of seat belts costs this country more than $25 billion per year "in medical care, lost productivity and other injury related costs." Same running principle as with the environment, but only myopic, narrow thinking refuses to see the whole picture. For shame.

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