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‘Should the Government Pay for Your Bad Climate Decisions?’

Of course they should. I’m not to blame for my decisions.

This is going to be a recurring refrain going forward,as climate change takes its toll on people and property.

We have incentivized risky behaviors and the problems caused by that have come home to roost. While we have gotten away with it for years, the problems are caused by our lackadaisical approach to where people chose to live based upon, usually local, authorities going ahead with whatever plans allow for more growth in their communities.

Listen to this The Daily podcast: “Should The Government Pay for Your Bad Climate Decisions? This podcast is all about disasters and how we, as a nation, have allowed and even promoted risky behaviors and then rewarded them when bad things happen by bailing people out.

It is an all too familiar story. The problem now is that our past behaviors are starting to haunt us and the people rewarded by our bad behaviors want those behaviors (otherwise known as programs) to continue.

I’m also, slowly, reading the book Nudge: The Final Edition. Much of the book is about incentives and disincentives. Today they had a section of the book on who chooses? Who uses? Who pays? And who profits? We are going to have to move from incentivising to disincentivising — which people don’t like at all!

Might we end up with an “all hazards” insurance pool for all types of natural hazards? That concept is mentioned in the podcast. The issue there is that we will not charge enough in premiums to cover the losses — and we’ll be right back to compensating people for risky behaviors.

I only see national bankruptcy as being a solution to the above problem, when there just isn’t any money left. When you can’t borrow it or print enough of it, programs will have to be cut and cut drastically, aka eliminated. The bailouts will end and the Piper will play his tune and we will collectively pay the price.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.