Langley Township Civic Facility. (Langley Advance Times files)

Our View: Penny wise, flood foolish

The cost of acting now is cheaper than the cost of cleaning up the climate change mess later

Langley Township has unveiled the expected cost-per-household required to hit local carbon dioxide reduction targets during the next 20 years – $130 per year.

That’s a pretty decent price.

I’m not saying that it isn’t a decent chunk of change. As an increase in property taxes, it would be a fair bit. But if you’d like to think of it in a different way, it’s about 35.6 Starbucks grande lattes, or 5.7 medium pizzas a year.

Better yet, consider the cost of not acting.

The upfront cost of fire insurance and car insurance and home insurance is a lot, too, but you don’t see anyone sensible suggesting that you should go without them.

So let’s consider the costs of doing nothing about climate change.

How much would it cost the Township if the Fraser River overtopped the dikes around Glen Valley and Fort Langley and flooded low-lying areas?

I’m pretty sure that repairs to roads, sewers, water mains, bridges, and other vital infrastructure would cost a pretty penny. Not to mention the cost of evacuating everyone from Fort Langley – which was an island during the 1948 floods.

How about the cost to Langley farmers in agricultural failures if the weather becomes ever more unpredictable?

What will it cost rural landowners if parching summers cause excessive draw on local aquifers and wells run dry?

Some of those costs would fall to the Township, and thus be borne by every taxpayer. Others costs would fall harder on individual property owners.

Climate change mitigation is an insurance policy. We’re already seeing the impacts of climate change, and we’ll keep seeing them. But if we and our neighbours, our provinces, our federal government, and our fellow nations work together, we can save a lot of money.

It’s save now, or spend tomorrow.

Langley Advance Times

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