Fossil fuel companies created the conditions that led to Hurricane Harvey, so taxpayers shouldn’t be the ones to foot the bill for climate change emergencies.
According to the Washington Post, an estimated 9 trillion gallons of water has already fallen on Southeast Texas, killing several and displacing thousands more. Disasters like Hurricane Harvey will become more frequent as climate change worsens. The journal Environmental Research Letters estimated in 2012 that, as a result of climate change, sea levels will rise by roughly 19 inches by 2050, putting nearly 4 million Americans in 2,150 coastal cities and towns at risk of being displaced by flooding.
However, despite the increased risk of flooding within our lifetimes, the White House’s budget proposal would cut Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to cities and states by an estimated $600 million, according to the New York Times, leaving these coastal cities more vulnerable than ever in the face of increasingly severe weather. Disasters like Hurricane Harvey will become more frequent as more greenhouses gases continue to enter the atmosphere.
In fact, the Carbon Disclosure Project recently published a report showing that just 25 fossil fuel companies — including Houston-based companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips — are responsible for more than half of all global greenhouse gas emissions between 1988 and 2016. It only makes sense that the companies that create the conditions leading to major climate disasters like Hurricane Harvey should be the ones who pay for emergency relief funding — not taxpayers.
This is why Grit Post has launched a petition to do just that — make contributors to climate change pay for climate emergencies. A tax placed on the largest emitters of greenhouse gases will not only help ensure a stable funding source for emergency relief, but it would also financially incentivize those same companies to alter their business practices and work to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.