Remember, only trying to mitigate climate change costs jobs. Keep telling yourself that.

Parts shortages from three months of catastrophic flooding in Thailand have forced Honda to cut U.S. and Canadian factory production by 50 percent for the second time this year, the automaker said Monday.

The cuts, which come just as Honda was recovering from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, will run from Wednesday at least through Nov. 10 as Honda tries to find alternate sources for microprocessors that are made in Thailand.

The flooding, which began in July and has forced many auto parts plants to close, also affected Toyota Motor Co., which cut overtime for production in North America through the end of this week.

As this excerpt indicates, the last time that Honda and other automakers had to reduce or suspend production was because of the supply chain disruption over the spring in Japan, also due to a natural disaster, namely an earthquake and tsunami. Now, you may not be able to attribute seismic activity to climate destabilization. But without question the rains in Thailand, some of the worst in recent history, can be seen as a by-product of a changing climate. So can the big storm in the Northeast over the weekend, and all the flooding we saw on the Mississippi, and natural disasters which led to emergency declarations in every single state in the union this year.

But let’s go back to Thailand. If Honda can’t get its microprocessors out of Thailand, factories in the US and Canada cannot continue their work. Those workers affected by the slowdown of the assembly line have less money in their pockets. Maybe they go to a restaurant less times per week in this period. That restaurant owner sees his or her sales drop. Maybe they have to fire a worker, or they scale back a planned expansion, or stop work on an upgrade. That contractor has less business over this period. That impacts their hiring capacity and their consumer spending. That impacts the drugstore down the street and the guy in the lunch truck who comes around to the worksite every day. And so on…

But remember, the only costs to climate change are the costs incurred by attempting to mitigate it. There is no cost to allowing the planet to warm, allowing the climate to destabilize and allowing bizarre, extreme weather patterns to proliferate. That has nothing to do with the economy. Not at all.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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