Friday, September 19, 2014

Solving Climate Change Would Be Good For The Economy

I've posted about this before, but it deserves repeating.  It is a point made by Obama in a State of the Union speech, and made again today by Paul Krugman:
I’ve just been reading two new reports on the economics of fighting climate change: a big study by a blue-ribbon international group, the New Climate Economy Project, and a working paper from the International Monetary Fund. Both claim that strong measures to limit carbon emissions would have hardly any negative effect on economic growth, and might actually lead to faster growth. This may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. These are serious, careful analyses.
Over a hundred years ago, the major way of getting around cities by horseback was becoming a problem.  Just keeping up with dung removal was a serious issue.  Then came the automobile solving all those horse problems.  Of course that created a new problem that we're now dealing with, but at that time, personal transportation based on horses was then a very serious problem.  Of course the transition was problematic for all those industries that involved horses and their buggies and saddles, etc. New entrepreneurs plunged into making cars and providing gasoline and parts.  Meanwhile, makes of buggies, buggy whips, etc. were facing bankruptcy.  As far as the economy was concerned, though, the transition was all good.  In the end more jobs, goods more easily transported, and so on. The economy bloomed.

In the same way, a transition to a new alternative energy economy, as the study reports, would be not just good but great for our economy,  It, of course, would be bad for some enterprises just as it was for the buggy industry and everything else based on the horse for transportation, but it would be good, no great, for the rest of the economy.  The only problem with our current situation is that the equivalent to the buggy industry, i.e., the oil and coal industries, have a death grip on progress. The rest of the world would benefit immeasurably from a transition to an alternate energy economy, but a small few (cough, Koch Bros, cough) refuse to yield their control over Congress.  If this control is not wrested from them, our civilization is basically doomed.  It's beyond any ability to comprehend that this is so.