I agree with Jon Clark's April 30 op-ed, "York County no stranger to climate change." We can already see the costs of climate change. But there are more costs than just those mentioned in the op-ed. There are many other "externalities" of fossil fuels — costs for which we taxpayers bear the burden.

Coal, oil and gas profits are privatized while the costs for the damage they cause are socialized. Taxpayers have paid over $1 trillion for climate change disasters so far (NOAA website), and we'll be paying trillions more because there are three decades worth of excess CO2 emissions in the atmosphere (it doesn't dissipate). So, things are going to get much worse even if we could completely stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow.

Scientists have been trying to warn us about this for a long time, but they can seldom get through the noise of a multi-billion-dollar PR operation funded by fossil fuels (Scientific American, The Washington Post) modeled directly on big tobacco's denial smoking causes lung cancer, fake "scientists" and all, even using one of tobacco's old PR operations, Heartland.

Then there are the totally unnecessary multi-billion-dollar subsidies taxpayers give fossil fuels each year. Solar and wind energy subsides have been eliminated, but they are still becoming cost competitive, and when they scale up they will be cheaper than fossil fuels are now, with no "externalities."


A consumer-friendly tax swap that would tax fossil fuels — not us — would phase them out without government regulations. Waiting just five more years to act on climate change is estimated by the International Energy Agency to cost about $5 trillion more. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports say fast and aggressive action on climate change would cost about 0.06 percent of GDP, essentially a rounding error.