Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Climate Change Solutions Are Key to Economic Recovery

Paul Krugman's Sunday NY Times Oped, An Affordable Truth, is a stellar reminder that the types of policies that we need to solve climate change also happen to be exactly what the doctor ordered for creating jobs and stimulating our economic recovery:

The truth, however, is that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is affordable as well as essential. Serious studies say that we can achieve sharp reductions in emissions with only a small impact on the economy’s growth. And the depressed economy is no reason to wait — on the contrary, an agreement in Copenhagen would probably help the economy recover.

Still, should we be starting a project like this when the economy is depressed? Yes, we should — in fact, this is an especially good time to act, because the prospect of climate-change legislation could spur more investment spending.

Consider, for example, the case of investment in office buildings. Right now, with vacancy rates soaring and rents plunging, there’s not much reason to start new buildings. But suppose that a corporation that already owns buildings learns that over the next few years there will be growing incentives to make those buildings more energy-efficient. Then it might well decide to start the retrofitting now, when construction workers are easy to find and material prices are low.

The same logic would apply to many parts of the economy, so that climate change legislation would probably mean more investment over all. And more investment spending is exactly what the economy needs.

Solid points by Krugman -- the type that the media need to mention every time they mention the supposed negative impacts of climate change legislation that are touted by opponents of progress.

Remember, climate change is far from the only reason to take the types of steps being discussed in Copenhagen, D.C. and states and cities across America and the world.

From air pollution and its deadly health impacts, to inefficient vehicles and buildings, to a heavily petrochemical-dependent food production system, to our increasingly dangerous dependence on foreign oil, the types of energy, transport and land use policies that we need to solve climate change will help cure society of countless ills that are currently costing people, businesses and our government way too much money.

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