Solving the financial crisis by averting the climate crisis
Chip and I have an op-ed in the Seattle Times: "Solving the financial crisis by averting the climate crisis." It begins:
Polar ice caps are melting, but Wall Street is melting down. The ongoing financial crisis means that the next president will have to postpone or dramatically scale back plans to address the twin problems of climate change and energy security. We just don’t have the money for ambitious new spending programs right now.
That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. Like so much conventional wisdom, however, it is dead wrong. What’s more, it demonstrates that we have not yet absorbed the central lesson of the financial crisis: You can’t build a healthy economy on illusions. Not forever anyway. Reality bats last.
U.S. home values were one such illusion, now being violently wrenched back to Earth. Another, of older vintage and even firmer hold, is the illusion of cheap, endless energy. For more than a century of dizzying growth we’ve mined and burned fossil fuels while hiding the true costs with accounting tricks. Cleanup of polluted land and water, treatment of respiratory ailments and cancers, enormous and growing trade debt, distorted foreign policy, and most of all, the accelerating effects of climate chaos — they were all kept off-books.
Head on over and read the rest.