How do governments fight climate change without losing jobs? The Earth is a small place that is getting warmer. Population is exploding and so is our use of fossil fuels. Before a new report today, the prospect of battling climate change was seen in spending alone. Not exactly something cash-strapped nations can undertake.
The new report came in the form of a commission. I wonder how much greenhouse gas we could cut if we would stop with a commission for everything. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate released today.
Chaired by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, the report points to affordable remedies that could spur economic growth. One recommendation is redirecting the money spent on power and transportation projects to clean energy.
Clean energy has matured over the past decade and is closing in on parity with current prices of fossil fuels. Another recommendation? Developing dense urban areas over sprawling cities. A dense urban core would be able to offer public transportation, cut local pollution and improve quality of life.
Here’s something for the commission. Try to turn Atlanta into a dense urban city that wouldn’t require a car. Just thinking about it would give urban planners a migraine.
The report isn’t without criticism. Critics have pounced on the report citing it’s overly optimistic pricing on renewable energy. Others have pointed to the fact that developed countries burned fossil fuels with reckless abandon to get to their respective economic status.
Forcing new rules on developing countries will be seen as a ‘do as I say, not as I do’. The response from countries trying to pull themselves up will be a shrug and looking to whatever is the cheapest route.
Other recommendations in the report call for a ‘fair price’ on pollution. Yeah, messaging a carbon tax as ‘fair price’ is dead on arrival. The commission members need to remember a politician mentioning the word ‘fair’ is seen automatically as class warfare. It’s a nonstarter in most countries.
The report also wants an end to fuel subsidies. That helps keeps gas affordable in most countries. So, an extreme, regressive tax to force people into alternative energies that aren’t ready for primetime yet? There’s a reason Tesla only sells a handful of cars a month when compared to GM.
Can climate change be tackled? Absolutely. Increasing public transportation is a great way to start. The wrong way is to start taxing people over pollution. If governments go that route, park every private jet in the world. Oh, you didn’t mean your carbon footprint?
Common sense will go a long way in solving the problems that face a warming Earth. Renewables for power generation, increased public transportation and better fuel economy. All three can be done with relative ease in developed countries.
You can read the full report here. The site is getting bombarded with visitors, so it may take a few minutes to load.