It's a phrase that lawyers are particularly fond of - "the author of his own misfortune." It describes the common defence to those who make poor choices and then seek to hold others liable for all or part of the unwelcome consequences.
It may soon be heard from the denizens of America's "slave states," the type who flock to Trump rallies, see soshulists lurking behind every tree, get their reality via Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, and absolutely reject the notion of anthropogenic global warming.
A new study reveals the economic shitstorm heading the way of the American south. Fortunately for these folks global warming is a hoax.
There are a few takeaway messages. First, the color scale is not symmetric – that is the orange and red values represent pretty large economic losses whereas the green values are notably smaller economic benefits. Secondly, there are more regions that will lose than there are that will win. When interpreting an image like this, we have to be cognizant of the fact that more people live in the Southeast than in the central west. Robert Kopp, one of the authors of the study stated in a press release:
'In the absence of major efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience, the Gulf Coast will take a massive hit. Its exposure to sea-level rise – made worse by potentially stronger hurricanes – poses a major risk to its communities. Increasingly extreme heat will drive up violent crime, slow down workers, amp up air conditioning costs, and threaten people’s lives.'
This conclusion was echoed by Solomon Hsiang, the lead author:
'Unmitigated climate change will be very expensive for huge regions of the United States. If we continue on the current path, our analysis indicates it may result in the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the country’s history.'
I'm wrestling with how this fiasco will result in "the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich" in America's history especially after the already massive wealth transfer of the neoliberal era. There is, however, in this a warning for us all. Between sea level rise, severe storm events, saltwater inundation and other climate change impacts, there is going to be a retreat from the coasts and a migration out of the American south. Those people, America's first major IDPs, internally-displaced persons, will have to relocate and there's only one direction for them to go.