It's hard to understand why some people (including current presidential candidates) continue to deny climate change.
From ensuring a livable future for future generations to the major economic impacts presented by a new energy economy, tacking climate change should be a no-brainer.
Below are some of the major economic reasons for getting serious about climate change.
A new energy economy will be a major driver of job creation. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "If the United States were to invest whole-heartedly in energy efficiency, especially new technologies, there could be a net increase of 1.3 to 1.9 million jobs in energy efficiency industries by 2050."
In addition to efficiency jobs, the deployment of renewable energy for residential and commercial use is also a major job creator. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), "Renewable energy employment in the United States reached 724,000 jobs in 2014, a 16 percent increase from the previous year. These jobs include manufacturing, project development, construction, installation, operations and maintenance, transportation and logistics, and financial, legal, and consulting services."
Further, "Some 7.7 million people are now employed across the renewable energy chain globally. That’s an 18 percent increase from 6.5 million in 2014."
In 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an analysis of the economic benefits of a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025; it concluded "such a policy would create more than three times as many jobs as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels—resulting in a benefit of 202,000 new jobs in 2025."
Rural Economic Development
Particularly in rural areas - where economic opportunities are historically limited -- "owners of the land on which wind projects are built also often receive lease payments ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per megawatt of installed capacity, as well as payments for power line easements and road rights-of-way," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Additionally "they may earn royalties based on the project’s annual revenues. Similarly, farmers and rural landowners can generate new sources of supplemental income by producing feedstocks for biomass power facilities."
Support Local Economies
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "Renewable energy projects keep money circulating within the local economy, and renewable electricity production reduces the need to spend money on importing coal and natural gas from other places."
Instead of sending money to Colombia, Venezuela, Indonesia, and the Middle East, a sound domestic energy policy could create opportunities for innovation and employment of the American work force.
Lowered Energy Costs
The Union of Concerned Scientists states, "While renewable facilities require upfront investments to build, once built they operate at very low cost and, for most technologies, the fuel is free. As a result, renewable energy prices are relatively stable over time."
UCS’s analysis of the economic benefits of a 25 percent renewable electricity standard found that "such a policy would lead to 4.1 percent lower natural gas prices and 7.6 percent lower electricity prices by 2030."
A Destabilized Climate
Finally, while the true costs resulting from a global temperature increase can never be fully known, rising sea levels, increased desertification, longer droughts, and more drastic weather patterns will wreak havoc with economies and communities across the Planet.In a recent report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States may face up to $180 billion in economic losses because of drought and water shortages by the end of the century.
It's time to get real and stop denying climate change. There are so many reasons that action is both necessary and logical.
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