CROWDSOURCING SUSTAINABILITY

Why Green Stimulus is a No-Brainer

by | May 22, 2020

Green Stimulus

Governments are spending trillions of dollars on rescue packages right now.

Many trillions more will be spent on recovery packages in the coming year to stimulate the economy.

Because these are “once in a generation” investments, where they get invested will largely determine the world’s climate progress (or lack thereof) over the next decade.

Will policy-makers take action to reverse warming and protect us? Or will their negligence dig us into a far deeper hole than the one we’re currently in?

“You don’t get the chance to reset the economy every day — or even every five years. This is our shot. We need to get it right.K. Aronoff, A. Battistoni, D. Cohen, T. Riofrancos

The bad news is that some policy-makers around the world are still beholden to the (deadly) status quo and fossil fuel executives. Or are uninformed and still ascribe to the backward notion that what is good for the environment is bad for the economy.

The good news is that human health, justice, risk-management, and history demand a green stimulus.

Oh, and since all of those are typically swept under the rug like they’re somehow inferior to short-term profits, there’s also the fact that…

 

Green recovery packages look like the best option for people *and* the economy.

Here’s why:

  • Green stimulus = tons of jobs.
    • Investing in renewables and energy efficiency creates nearly 3x more jobs than investing in fossil fuels. Prior to COVID-19, the fastest-growing jobs in the US were in solar and wind.
  • New research out of Oxford, “based on surveys of more than 200 of the world’s most senior economists and economic officials, suggests that spending this money on climate-friendly “green” policy initiatives could not only help shift the world closer to a net-zero emissions pathway, but could also offer the best economic returns for government spending.Their top 5 green investment recommendations are in:
    • Clean physical infrastructure.
    • Building efficiency spending for renovations and retrofits.
    • Investment in education and training.
    • Natural capital.
    • Clean R&D spending.
  • We’d get countless co-benefits such as healthier people, reduced inequality, cleaner air, water, and land.
    • (Did you know people exposed to higher levels of air pollution are far more likely to die from COVID-19?)
  • There are many “shovel ready” projects to improve our clean energy infrastructure and natural ecosystems.
  • According to an analysis of the stimulus packages after the 2007-2008 Great Financial Crisis, “Green stimulus policies often have advantages over traditional fiscal stimulus. For instance, renewable energy investment is attractive in both the short and the long run.”
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation measures would reduce the severity and likelihood of systemic risks in the future, including pandemics. And it would improve our resiliency when they do occur.
    • Did you know that climate-related disasters cost the US over 1.5% of GDP in 2017?

There’s a reason Blackrock is making sustainability the cornerstone of their investment strategy – and it’s not because they’re nice people.

It’s because sustainability makes economic sense. Sustainability is good for their bottom line.

There’s a reason some Republicans are starting to speak more loudly on climate: “The winner of the emerging clean energy race will determine the geopolitical and economic balance of power for decades to come.” – James Baker, George Shultz, Ted Halstead

It’s because they see the writing on the wall.

And there’s a reason a green stimulus intuitively makes so much sense.

It’s because the foundations upon which both society and the economy stand are beginning to crumble before our very eyes.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.

But I suspect most of the upcoming recovery packages will not be nearly as green or ambitious as they could be if people don’t start talking about it with their friends, family, networks, and policy-makers. Every little bit counts.

So let’s get to it!

 

This post originally featured in the Crowdsourcing Sustainability newsletter.

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