Former EPA chief says ignoring global warming would be costly

By Adam C. Smith
St. Petersburg Times (FL)
April 23, 2011

In these tough economic times, it’s no surprise political leaders spend a lot less time talking about combating global warming than about the need to create jobs. But former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman says people should realize the implications of doing nothing.

“A decision you can make is let’s do nothing, it’s too costly (to develop nuclear or solar). But understand you’re going to pay a price down the road,” Whitman said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Whitman, a former governor of New Jersey, is a director of a bipartisan national security think tank called the American Security Project. Last week it released a study estimating that inaction on climate change by 2025 will cost Florida $27 billion, because of hurricane damage, real estate and tourism losses, and electricity consumption.

A Republican who has been critical of some party leaders focusing on social issues, she had mixed views on the tea party movement.

“To the extent they focus on the national debt and spending, I think they’re very helpful. When it starts to slide over into the social issues, into other issues that really aren’t related to the economy, that’s where I start having problems with them, and I think a lot of other people do,” she said. “Some of the attitude on spending is a little extreme, because we do need a government, there is a role for government.”