Saving the world makes cents
Environmentalism entered the ’00s with a reputation for being anti-jobs and anti-growth, but it’s leaving the decade waving its pro-prosperity flag high. “Green jobs” has gone from back-room rallying cry to presidential campaign promise to $5 billion federal investment, and said jobs are materializing across the U.S., from California cleantech to Michigan motors to Delaware ductwork. It’s all part of an effort to jump-start the economy and attack climate change in one fell swoop — a feat that industry-funded think tanks and other skeptics have long said is impossible. But many smartypants economists now contend that a healthier climate means a healthier economy. When the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change came out in 2006 arguing that cost-benefit analysis favors ambitious climate action, it sparked raging debate. Since then, the basic conclusion that climate action makes financial sense has been confirmed by similar studies from the International Energy Agency, the U.S. EPA, and the Congressional Budget Office. See, the enviros like forward progress! But seriously, don’t touch the wetlands.