Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Green economy and Copenhagen

As the United Nations climate change conference in Copehagen approaches, we should examine all the reasons for a green economy rather than simply focusing on climate change.

Of course, climate change is what the conference is about, but there is so much disinformation about the "consequences" of climate change action that need to be cleared up.

So here's a list, probably not complete, of additional good reasons to establish a green economy that will help reduce carbon emissions:

  • Energy independence. President Barack Obama actually campaigned more on this issue than climate change in addressing environmental concerns. It is more of a nationalistic concern. For example, it would not make a good argument in Saudi Arabia.
  • Peak oil. Yes, many people have forgotten about this in the whole climate change debate. Petroleum is not a sustainable resource! At some point, most experts, even those in the oil industry, agree that oil reserves will no longer be able to keep up with demand. Which nations will fare well when oil prices start going through the roof? Obviously those that have made the adjustments toward renewable energy sources and conservation will be in the driver's seat.
  • Pollution. Let's not forget that among the the leading causes of cancer are the carcinogens contained in industrial waste and pollutants. These carcinogens are contaminating the food and water chain. Air pollution also contributes seriously to public health problems. The cost of cleaning up contaminated water and land continues to rise. Pollution directly impacts many industries. For example, fertilizers that runoff into the Gulf of Mexico have created vast dead zones where fisheries and other sea-based industries are impossible.
  • If you're a nature lover, a bird watcher, a hunter, a fisherman (or fisherwoman), or anyone else who likes the outdoors, then you need to think about the green economy. A lot of these people already know this even among people who are politically conservative. The old-timers especially have seen the changes that have occurred in the last few decades in many ecosystems.
  • Economy. The big deception out there is that a green economy will somehow translate to lost jobs, and that it will cost too much. The reality is that it will cost too much not to have a green economy. Ask any economic analyst where the world economy is heading in the future. It's not really a secret anymore. Those nations that do not make the adjusments now will be dependent on those nations that do.