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How is Climate Change Similar to Our Debt Crisis?

Updated on January 24, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.


If someone told me Climate Change and our National Debt is similar, my first reaction would be - what? are you crazy? After thinking about them a little deeper, I can see the parallels more clearly.

- Jan. 2017


Let me set the stage.

Climate Change is the number one issue for the Progressive left of our country. They rank it as the greatest threat to our nation and the world.

Our national debt is approaching $20 trillion. To the fiscal conservatives, like myself, this is the number one issue which could be the downfall of our nation.

Climate scientists has been studying our climate and monitoring the global effects for quite some times. It was the early 1990s when this first became apparent and the world was given a wakeup call. Since then, we had Al Gore with his award winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" which made climate change the number one issue.

Our national debt has been steadily growing ever since the founding of our nation. It has not been a problem since we have a Federal Reserve that keep the control over our monetary policy such that it is managed with quantitative easing and the issue of government bonds...

Notice the Similarities

The above two plots are very similar in nature. The top chart shows the growth of CO2 concentration in our atmosphere over time. The second chart is the accumulated debt over time.

Both are rising with a similar trajectory.

Why is this a concern?

In the first case, scientists have theorized the greenhouse effect where by the increased gases of CO2 acts to trap the heat coming from the sun and will lead to global warming and eventually will cause floods and melting polar ices and violent weather storms...

In the second case, economists warns that increased debt will eventually cause a total collapse of our economic and monetary system and lead to global chaos.

Both predictions are plausible and given enough time, if no intervention is enacted, will lead to doom. The question becomes when is this critical point and how fast are we heading there? And are there any other contributing factors that may change the dynamics of this simple model.

What Could Change?

In the Climate change model, what if the sun reduced the amount of energy it puts out for example. There may be many other natural and man-man causes that can affect the outcome.

In the debt crisis, what if the interest rate can be manipulated in such a way to make the problem less painful or postponed indefinitely?

I guess another possibility is that the original theory was wrong or incomplete. What if CO2 had little to do with our climate. The earth has variability in climate due to natural cycles and it always will. It is also affected periodically by asteroids impact and earthquakes...

On the debt problem, what if the interest rate could be fixed at 0%. This means that it cost our government nothing to borrow money that it does not have.

So, what started out as a potential problem may not be something to worry about. In the first case, since the earth is so huge, the main driver of climate change is due to natural cycles and we have little impact. The changes that are taking place will take a long period of time to materialize. By then, we would have developed advanced technology to mitigate any bad effects.

In the second case, we can artificially control the rates such that we won't experience any crash for a long long time.


What should we, as a nation, do about either?

The answer depends on whom you ask. For the progressives, they want the government to enact laws to reduce fossil fuel usage to combat climate change. They also want to spend more on social programs that we can't afford and then control our debt by holding interest rate at or near zero percent.

To conservatives like myself, we believe we should study climate change more by improving the models such that predictions match with reality over a period. On the debt, we believe we should stop the borrowing in the first place by passing a balanced budget Amendment. This pay as we go is the common sense approach to any budgeting.

I guess it is up to the voters to decide which direction we should follow.

© 2017 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 11 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I'm glad somebody is getting it.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 12 months ago

      I have no idea how two charts that record data could have any thing in common except these two are both going up on a graph. When the temperature increases so did housing prices and bankers with shady investments? If thats the case the polar ice caps should have melted by now.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 12 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I agree. Satire or not, climate change and the national debt can be compared. They are similar in the mental impact they have on the average person.

      Both are juggernauts that, we have been told for years now, are heading toward us and will totally destroy our way of life.

      Both, we are told, are our own fault, collectively if not individually.

      In both cases, the average person feels powerless to do anything to avert this crisis.

      Although they are both consequences of our current lifestyle, there are no small, doable lifestyle tweaks that would head off the juggernauts of climate change (if it's really as bad as they say) 0r national debt. Only a major, radical lifestyle change would do it. In the case of climate change, the average person would have to leave their current home and job, buy land, and begin a preindustrial, subsistence farming lifestyle. In the case of national debt, we would have to stop accepting all government handouts ourselves, plus agitate for the end of the welfare state ... which, if we could bring it about, would likely cause major social upheaval. If the upheaval is major enough, the only way to protect ourselves against it would be to follow the subsistence farming plan outlined above.

      Since most people do not feel these radical lifestyle changes are practical, they are forced to face warnings about climate change and national debt alike with the "hope it doesn't happen in my lifetime" approach.

    • My Two Pennies profile image

      My Two Pennies 12 months ago from United States

      I got the satire, and dig it. Well done sir.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 12 months ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Oh, I get it. I thought I was resisting being duped when actually I was duping myself.

      I feel like I have just been tazed and embarrassed.

      Well done when satire can be taken for the real thing.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 12 months ago from Yorktown NY

      DTMB, this hub was meant to be a satire for fun...

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 12 months ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Jack, do you really believe it is possible to compare a made up fraud of a "model" to the reality of overwhelming debt?

      There is absolutely no evidence that man is causing global warming except the fraudulent use of computer "models" that historically have been repeatedly proven to be wrong. Charlatan Al Gore's documentary has been thoroughly debunked, and the ruse of man made global warming dates back to the 1970's when predictions were made of pending disaster that never came true.

      If you look at the recent FAKE news that 2016 was the hottest year on record you will discover that scientists have been fudging the numbers and even with that they don;t report the figures because the change is less than the margin of error in collecting the data. It's meaningless, yet the hype the media is giving it confirms that they are hyping a fake news story and ignoring the facts behind it because they have an agenda.

      I'd suggest Jack, you don't encourage people to believe the lie of computer models and left wing propagandists and their agencies hell bent on enlarging government and it's control over people's lives