Climate Change and Inflation

By Anjali Nayak

The United States government is constantly worried about inflation and often treats any climate legislation as a tiresome chore. But the two issues are much more intertwined than one might think. If the United States were to actually work to bring prices down for American citizens, one of the first steps to do so is actually addressing climate change. 

In 2022, Texas’s cotton industry floundered. Texas farmers tended to abandon 74 percent of their planted crop because of extreme weather conditions such as heat and parched soil made worse by climate change. As the world’s third biggest producer of cotton, the high demand sharply increased the prices of the crop. Suddenly, the prices of products such as tampons, sheets, pads, and textiles hiked, making essential products even more inaccessible for poor citizens in the United States and abroad. 

Around the world, extreme weather conditions have killed crops, disrupted energy supplies and crippled transportation lines. While the Republican party tends to write off climate change in favor of increasing the economy, it seems that there is a larger connection between inflation and climate change than others would think. The United State’s inability to acknowledge and react to climate change has led to a decrease in essential materials and products. 

Furthermore the Biden administration’s approval of the Willow Project best exemplifies a frustrating continuity across American history — the American government’s decision to put the profits of corporations over the livelihood of its people. Although controversial nationwide, the decision has maintained bipartisan approval in the state of Alaska. Both parties have come to the consensus that the Willow Project creates jobs and thus helps Alaskan citizens maintain financial stability. The Climate Justice Alliance, a nationwide network of climate justice groups say it best: “Real and safe community solutions, such as community-controlled solar and wind, are what we need investment in now. Unproven and risky, corporate technologies such as carbon capture and storage will further devastate our communities and prolong the harms of the fossil fuel industry. ConocoPhillips and other fossil fuel giants don’t need more profits or government favors.”

Instead, the Willow Project — and Biden’s overall failure to pursue any effective climate justice — should be seen as another example of the American government putting profits of big companies over the lives of people.