In the past six months, support for cap-and-trade has faded amid renewed concerns about employment and economic recovery. Economic forecasts are admittedly grim. But could a climate bill actually help the situation?
That's the question confronting the Telegraph's Geoffrey Lean, reporting from a UN climate conference in Bali. Ministers there are focusing on "how making economies greener could bring low-carbon prosperity." Asks Lean, "low-carbon prosperity? It seems like an oxymoron, and one guaranteed to boil the blood of many climate sceptics and energy companies." But with oil prices rising and a future of scarcity--meaning lack of energy security--"the amount oil available is expected to peak over the next 25 years (and probably much sooner), with catastrophic effects on economies that still rely on it." In other words, not greening is both expensive and risky.
So what does that mean?
If the green economy is indeed on its way, and offers a better future than the oil-soaked present, the strongest argument against taking action to fight global warming--that it would do too much economic damage--is turned on its head. Indeed, we should be embracing it, even if humanity were having no effect on the climate whatsover.
It definitely runs against conventional wisdom in the States, but could carbon cuts actually help the economy?