#118 After Harvey: Climate Change Insurance. Gernot Wagner

Is climate change to blame for Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods around Houston? Even though we can't be certain about the cause of a single storm, Harvey's epic rainfall and surprisingly long duration remind us of the need for urgent action.


In this edition of our solutions podcast, economist Gernot Wagner, executive director of Harvard University's Solar Geoengineeering Research Program, makes the case for market-based climate insurance: A fix that even skeptical conservatives could love.


If there was a 10% chance of a tree falling on your house, you'd buy home insurance. Gernot says that's what the U.S. and every other nation must do to reduce global warming. His fix for the planet? Carbon pricing through a program of cap-and-trade that lets the market find the cheapest way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 


Companies that exceed their emissions cap pay a penalty. Energy-efficient firms make money by selling their pollution allowances. Cap-and-trade can boost growth and jobs. California has designed its own system to reduce pollution as it makes a transition to a clean energy economy


The weather is already changing. The daily surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico this year is the warmest on record. When the sea warms, more water evaporates into the air, leading to greater rainfall. 


How do we help the victims of the Houston flood? This link has some smart suggestions.


tags: environment, hurricanes, storms, Harvey, Houston, Gulf of Mexico, climate change, cap-and-trade, global warming, Environmental Defense Fund, EDF, EPA