The total Gross Domestic Product for Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (MSA) in 2020 was $96,337,221,000 – 96 billion dollars.* That ‘s the economy at risk from rising sea level. Far from the coast, the rising water will affect mortgage lenders, insurers, transportation networks, and many other jobs and businesses. Flooding around the many military bases in Hampton Roads puts our national security at risk along with a mainstay of our economy. In Hampton Roads, we face a future of lost jobs, lost property, and lives as uprooted and impoverished climate refugees.
Addressing these risks must be part of any sane energy plan for Virginia. Creating jobs and bringing people to Virginia won’t make up for a 96 billion dollar hole in the economy. An “All-of-the-Above” Approach to Energy Policy cannot include energy sources that emit greenhouse gasses. Granted, Virginia alone cannot solve the climate crisis, but if Virginia, with so much at stake, adopts a business-as-usual energy plan, why on Earth would Oklahomans be motivated to cut their emissions?
Thus Virginia must stay the course and move away from carbon-based fuels. Membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative provides market incentives for reduced emissions, and provides funding to assist people state-wide who are already experiencing climate-driven disasters. And these disasters will come with increasing frequency because we’ve wasted so much time and let so much heat accumulate. We must not be tempted by short-term thinking and promises that cannot last.
*U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Total Gross Domestic Product for Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (MSA) [NGMP47260], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NGMP47260, September 15, 2022.