Now, a new U.N. report has more than tripled that number to $1.9 trillion per year for 40 years.
So let's do the math: That works out to a grand total of $76 trillion, over 40 years -- or more than five times the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States ($14.66 trillion a year).
That's a really stupid calculation and it explains why I generally flip through most general news reports that involve any science/math/finance/economics.
$5000 today is not the same as $5000 in 40 years - and not merely because of possible inflation. Which would you rather have? $5000 now or $5000 inflation-protected dollars in 40 years? (To start, you may be dead in 40 years.)
In short, you can't multiply $1.9 trillion by 40 and get $76 trillion. That's adding oranges, bananas and mangoes - money from today with money you'll receive next year, and in 40 years - all together.
Okay, so the US GDP in 40 years will total around 586 trillion.
76 trillion of that is about 13% and of course that'll be spread out globally.
76 trillion seems pretty cheap actually. That's like the cost of general maintenance or something. You weren't just planning on just leaving a worn-out un-maintained piece of shit for future generations to scrape by on were you?
Eyeball, your numbers are all wrong but I like your reasoning. Future GDP will be higher and in the future, we will be able to afford to pay higher costs to protect the environment.
To put this in perspective, if a poor Indian family in Tamil Nadu has a house with a collapsing roof, should they use the family savings to fix the roof or should they send their son off to college to learn about computers? $4000 today is alot of money but in a few years, if the son does well, it will seem like a small sum.
Of course, if the roof collapses before the son goes to college - or the son turns out to be an idiot, then the decision may be critical.
Here's my own prediction: politicians will eventually clue into the idea that they can tax the use of the environment rather than taxing income, wealth or other various practices/habits.
Both income tax and environmental taxes raise revenue, and no one likes taxes. But there's a big difference between the two.
The easiest way to avoid a tax is to stop doing the taxed activity. For this reason alone, income taxes are bad and environmental taxes are good. Income taxes make people lazy. Environmental taxes make the world cleaner.
At some point, a smart politician will understand this and be able to explain it credibly. This will revolutionize our tax system.
Edited by August1991, 07 July 2011 - 02:48 PM.
"In civilised society he stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons." Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 2