COVID has cost millions of jobs, if we rebuild our economies by addressing the climate crisis, we can create more jobs than were lost and ensure a more just and livable world.
A study from the Political Economy Research Institute shows that every $1 million in spending generates fewer than three fossil-fuel jobs, but will generate more than seven full-time jobs in renewable energy and almost eight full-time jobs in energy efficiency.
Many clean energy jobs are in local small businesses helping their neighbors to save money and avoid the pollution that plagues many poor neighborhoods. Another international economists’ report states investing in renewable energy generates more jobs in the short run in a recession, compared to traditional stimulus packages.
A well-funded, intentional effort confuses our perception of the climate problem while corrupting policy makers. Climate science is clear that greenhouse gasses, primarily from burning fossil fuels, cause more severe storms, droughts and glacial melting. Our current burn rate of 9.5 billion tons of carbon/year will raises temperatures by 7 degrees Fahrenheit with sea levels rising 10 feet by 2100.
The most cost-effective way to reduce pollution is to put a price on it, the most equitable thing to do is to compensate the people harmed. By taxing what we burn not what we earn, we’ll unleash American entrepreneurs to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act puts a price on carbon, gives the cash back to households as dividends and brings greenhouse gas emissions down 90 percent by 2050.
How we emerge from this crisis determines if we’ll be stronger and more resilient.
John Kondos is the director of the Monadnock Sustainability Hub and lives in Chesterfield, NH.