One of the things climate-deniers love whining about is how much it will cost—both in dollars and in lost economic output—to address climate change. However, a new study shows that states that have their own carbon reduction initiatives are not only set to save money, they’re set to create jobs and increase their own economic output, according to an article in Salon. The report which comes from the World Resources Institute (WRI), highlights the false dilemma Republicans have created between saving the planet and saving the economy.
Two existing examples proving we can address climate change without hurting the economy.
One real working example of how green energy initiatives have helped everyone rather than hurt the economy is in the Northeast; The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is regional cap-and-trade system. Republicans abhor the idea of cap and trade despite the fact that it was once a Republican idea because Obama supports it. The horror. Cap and trade affects power plants by capping the amount of carbon emissions they’re allowed expel into the atmosphere. The “trade” part of cap and trade comes when plants that find it hard to cut their emissions must buy carbon allowances from plants that have found it easy to cut their emissions and thus have extra allowances to sell or trade. The net result is reduced emissions across the board with incentives for certain plants to find creative solutions to their carbon emissions problems.
Under the RGGI, residents and businesses in these states have already seen drops in their power bills. As of Feb. 2014, 3 million households and 12,000 businesses have seen $240 million in savings on their bills. The region has also saved over 900,000 megawatt-hours and reduced carbon emissions by over 790,000 short tons. These same residents and businesses can expect $2 billion in savings on their bills over their lifetimes.
WRI’s report also points to Wisconsin, whose own energy efficiency program is expected to put $900 million into their economy over the next 10 years while also creating 6,000 new jobs. The benefits to Wisconsin are likely to outpace the costs of their program by nearly three to one.
Those are two real-world existing examples of green energy initiatives that are saving money for businesses and consumers while putting money into the local and regional economies by helping the environment. It’s proof that the dilemma between growing the economy and fighting climate change really is a false one. It’s proof that we shouldn’t have to make a choice as Republicans insist.
Republicans still insist that fighting climate change is too costly.
One of the major blocks to fighting climate change is Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). He once admitted to finding Al Gore’s presentation of man-made climate change intriguing but then changed his mind when he saw the price tag. Someone like Inhofe and others in the GOP can’t be expected to see benefits that will outweigh anything in the long term if the short term effect costs business money.
The GOP likes to follow Inhofe’s example and claim that the science is flawed and that fighting climate change is a liberal scheme intended to increase the size of the government and destroy businesses and the economy. That’ll help solidify the dictator Obama’s hold on all of us. The GOP will continue to push this false dilemma ad nauseum because their Koch-sucking handlers demand it.
But they also ignore the economic problems associated with climate change run amok. Sadly, conservatism is all about keeping things the way they were back in some 1950’s Utopian ideal that actually never existed (except maybe during the days of the robber barons). Done smartly, reducing carbon emissions in a way that has meaningful impact on the world before we’re at the point of no return.