Some of the future occupants of 160 unmarked graves found at Kuper Island School, B.C., operated from 1890 to 1975 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

The Great Pause Week 74: The Cost of Climate Solutions

Albert Bates
The Shadow
Published in
8 min readAug 15, 2021


We may not have noticed that we are borrowing from our children. Our children have noticed.

All of the books I have written about climate change — Climate in Crisis, Post-Petroleum Survival Guide, The Biochar Solution, Burn — have had sections on money somewhere towards the conclusion. That is because a real solution requires system change and money is at the heart.

The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money
That’s what I want

Money (That’s What I Want), 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr, Janie Bradford, Motown Records

A paper published in the journal Nature Communications July 29 tried to calculate the present cost of climate change. Unlike earlier attempts, the author, R. Daniel Bressler of Columbia University Center for Environmental Economics and Policy, calculated the numerator first in deaths, not dollars. The denominator is lifestyle.

One per 3 point 5

The lifetime emissions at 2020 levels of 3.5 North Americans will result in one additional heat-related death in this century, most probably in the global South. The worldwide average is 12.8 modern, carbon-intensive lifestyles to cause that single death.

The new research also shows the stark difference between personal carbon footprints and the kind of change that can be achieved through actions at the scale of government and business. Having calculated that 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere would result in one death during this century, Mr. Bressler said that simply taking one coal-fired power plant offline and replacing it with a zero-emissions alternative for just one year, would result in a “mortality benefit of saving 904 lives” over the century. “That would be a lot more impact than a personal decision,” he said.

The New York Times July 29, 2021

One per 3.5 is akin to an average US family having a slave brought into their home from some distant colony. Once that slave has provided the family the lifestyle to which they are accustomed, he/she is quietly disposed of, like a native child at a 20th Century Canadian…



Albert Bates
The Shadow

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.