News Release

Like Big Tobacco, Should Fossil Fuel Industry Pay for Climate Disasters?

MICHAEL DORSEY, mkdorsey at professordorsey.com, @GreenHejira
Currently at the climate talks in Warsaw, which go through next week, Dorsey is co-author of “The Plan: How the U.S. Can Help Stabilize The Climate and Create A Clean Energy Future,” from the Wesleyan Climate Project.

He said today: “A key problem developing in the negotiations is the American stalling on properly setting up a functional loss and damage mechanism. Secretary John Kerry and the president can and must work to set specific commitments and identify realistic budgets to address the growing crises nations like the Philippines are facing and many more shall experience. Doing less will endanger countless lives.”

DAPHNE WYSHAM, daphne at ips-dc.org, @daphnewysham
Wysham is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and director of the Genuine Progress Project. She said today: “Just as the tobacco industry was eventually forced to pay for the health care costs of tobacco smokers, we need to get the fossil fuel industry to pay for the enormous humanitarian response in the aftermath of superstorms like Haiyan, which recently ripped across the Philippines killing thousands. We must move from a de facto policy of promoting voluntary individual donations and government assistance in the aftermath of superstorms — as though it is charity in response to an ‘act of God’ — to a policy of financial obligation by the perpetrators of this climate chaos: the oil, gas and coal industries. Government inaction on climate change, and continued support of the fossil fuel industry, has deadly consequences. Until the polluter pays and pays heavily, the cost of these consequences will only rise.”