Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour


There’re so many things they never teach in school,   C Am Dm G
Like how to count the cost of fossil fuel.                   E7 A7 D7 G7
They’ll put you underwater, just to stay afloat.    C C#dim Dm G
Better kick the habit, it’s the only antidote.              Am C7 F D7
They’ll say you can’t afford it, but they’re bluffing.C C#dim Dm G7
Look at the cost of doing nothing!                              E7  A7 D7 G7

Apocalypse ain’t cheap!                                    F G7  C–
North or south or east or west,                         Dm7  G7
Combustion is what we do best,                       C C/B  Am7
Setting fire to our nest,                                       Bm7  E7
And physics does the rest.                                  Am  A7

It doesn’t rain here anymore,                             Dm7  G7
Mother nature’s really sore.                              C C/B  Am
ShowN us what she’s got in store,                   Bm7  E7
Now the wolf is at your door!                            Am7  A7

Apocalypse ain’t easy,                         F G
Apocalypse ain’t cheap.                      C   A7
Mighty hard to get to sleep,             Dm7  G
Even though I’m counting sheep.   C  C/B  Am—  A7—
Apocalypse  ain’t cheap!                   F  G7   C—   

You never see a people free
As an oil company;
Free to lie and cheat and then
Free to buy our congressmen!

Hoping you’ll procrastinate,
Await your fate ’till it’s too late.
Watch the fire gaining ground,
While your house is burning down!
Apocalypse  ain’t cheap!                    F  G7   C—   

Can’t you feel the fire roar                         A7
Better get on board!                                  D7
Things we used to get for free,                G7
And now we can’t afford.                          C   E7

Gentle rain, peace of mind,                         A7
Sweet seasons all the time.                          D7
There’ll never be security                              G7
Without healthy air and land and sea.       C C/B Am A7
Apocalypse  ain’t cheap!                             F  G7   C—   


©Doug Hendren 2021

What’s it about? It’s pretty simple, actually. Climate disruption, extremes of drought and flood, wildfires and monster storms are unaffordable. While our politicians dither about the costs of addressing the problem effectively, no one is counting the cost of doing nothing. Humans civilization has developed and thrived in the context of a gentle and predictable global climate, with predictable rains growing seasons providing us with food and water. Now, all bets are off. So far, 2021 is on track to be the costliest of all.

The cost of continuing to burn fossil fuel is staggering. A fossil-fuel economy has many so-called “negative externalities,” i.e. additional costs we are paying for using these products. Think of cigarettes. While you can buy a pack for a few dollars, the real cost may include cancer.

In the case of fossil fuels, here is a partial list of what they really cost:

• Heart and lung disease, high medical costs.

• Absenteeism from school and work, and early death for millions each year.

• Extreme weather events causing hundreds of billions annually.

• Sea level rise and storm surges, property loss and damage.

Retreat from coastal areas, domestic and international refugees.

• Loss of insurability of coastal properties.

• Costs of constructing barriers to rising seas.

• Loss of crops and livestock to extremes of drought and flood.

• Loss of whole towns to the combination or drought, heat and wildfire.

Loss of water supply is an especially unthinkable cost. In the American southwest, many cities depend on the lower Colorado River, including Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. The river in turn depends upon melting snowpack in the Rockies each spring. Snowpack is thinner than in years past. With extended mega-drought conditions due to climate disruption, the ground this year was so parched that it took up all the snowmelt like a sponge, leaving none to flow into the river. The same thing is happening in the Himalayas and elsewhere in the world.

Acting on climate change is an investment. When considering investments, we need to consider the cost and the benefits of each option. Yet many politicians have exaggerated the cost of action, while ignoring the costs of inaction on climate disruption.

The cost of doing nothing is incalculably high. We are all being held hostage by fossil fuel interests, which have systematically deceived policymakers and the public for over 40 years. The only way out of our present danger is the rapid transition to clean energy to power our economy. We have the means and the technology today. All we need is the political will.

Giving up fossil fuels will revitalize our economy, bring millions of new jobs, and a quieter, cleaner, safer world. When you hear that transitioning to clean energy is costly, don’t believe it for a minute! It’s losing our life-support systems that is costly. Apocalypse ain’t cheap!

More information:

Fast Company: Climate inaction could cost the world $178 million.

The cost of fossil fuel pollution.

The cost of climate change is greater than the cost of a green transition.

The world’s largest public bank is ending fossil financing.

The fingerprints of climate change are all over 2021’s western wildfire season.

Weaponizing economics: Big Oil, economic consultants, and climate policy delay.

Yale: The economic cost of doing nothing could be 15 times higher than current estimates.

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