New Energy Now! Show, The Cost of Inaction on Climate Change – America’s Prosperity, Security, HealthOctober 10, 2010
Today I appeared on Energy Now!, a new show on ABC in the Washington, DC area, to which I will be a regular Contributor and a member of “The Mix”, a weekly panel discussing the energy issues of the day. We discussed the global climate treaty talks, clean energy jobs, and what’s at stake if America doesn’t take action on climate change. Here’s a bit of my companion blog, and you can see the show at http://www.energynow.com/node/712 and my full blog here: http://tiny.cc/4cgnq.
Global Negotiations on Climate Change & Their True Cost
By Aimee Christensen, Published: 10/10/10 11:41am
On today’s Energy Now we discussed the global negotiations on a climate change treaty and argued over the economic costs and benefits of addressing climate change and of the clean energy future. We debated whether we even need a climate treaty, and we argued about jobs, whether addressing climate change is going to create jobs or kill jobs, going to grow the economy or shrink it.
First, we need a global treaty on climate change for two reasons: because we need global leaders to maintain this as a top priority given its urgency – it’s already harming those most vulnerable. And a global treaty will provide the market signals investors and innovators need to make the transition to clean energy, which will create jobs, make us more secure, healthy, and safe, and competitive.
Second, the history of environmental regulation in this country shows that the benefits of protecting the environment far outweigh the costs, that environmental regulation drives innovation and increases efficiency. (See EPA’s own analysis presented here http://tiny.cc/rcvoy, noting the benefits of the Clean Air Act have been a minimum of four times their cost). These benefits also include better health, improved productivity, better quality of life. Consistently industry has over-estimated the costs that environmental regulations will inflict, and over and over they are proven wrong, because investment dollars flow, innovation happens, efficiencies are increased, and the benefits are clear.
It is not as if we are doing fine with the status quo: we’ve been hemorrhaging high quality manufacturing jobs for well over a decade, and until we change something, that will continue. Investing in clean energy is one way to change that. In 2009 the U.S. added more windpower than any other energy source, ten gigawatts, a record – we are the “Saudi Arabia” of wind, enough to power 2 million homes; one wind energy project in South Dakota was built in only four months, with enough power for 35,000 homes. Over sixty percent of the wind power equipment was made in America, a growing percentage, showing that although China can build at lower cost, our quality, and manufacturing them close to installation, can make the difference. domain mentions . We need the policies that enable wind and solar projects to be built here in America so that wind turbines and solar panels will be made here in America too.