The Economy or the Environment?
With a recession dogging North America, many economists
and politicians are arguing that it simply
isn't the time to tackle climate change because it would kill the economy.
Unless, of course, it would actually save the
And therein lies the rub. Too many people in power have bought into a
19th century philosophies that hold no currency in a 21st
century world. The dichotomy
they are pushing is a verifiably false. It doesn't have to be the economy
or the environment. We don't have to sacrifice one to save the other.
This is not a new theory. Even conservatives and market analysts can see
the logic and wisdom if they take off their ideological blinders.
Take a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republicans
like Texas oil-man billionaire T. Boone Pickens — the horrible partisan
behind the Swift Boat Campaign of 2004. Even Pickens realizes
that it's absolutely ridiculous for their fellow patriots to continue buying
oil at $80 a barrel, and sending money to countries that are openly antagonistic
to the American Way of Life. I did the math; the US will pay more than
$700 billion annually to other nations if the price of oil rises to a $150
a barrel, which many analysts say is a foregone conclusion and likely to
come sooner rather than later.
We did the ciphering for Canada, too. Even if we're kinder to our home
and native land, and price oil at $100 a barrel for our exercise, and even
though Canada imports less oil than the US, and even though we use less
oil per capita than Americans, every year we still send $44 billion of
our money to other countries.
Imagine how much better off we'd be be if that Canadian money stayed in
If you live in North America, imagine how much better off you'd be every
year if you could cut your electrical bill by 25 percent, make your car
miserly to the tune of 60 mpg, and heat your 3,000 square foot home — if
you're lucky to own such a large one — for less than $1,000 a year.
And here's the kicker: we can get there from here. All those clean technologies
that will save you money are currently on the market. The painful, boring,
grab-the-electorate by-the scruff-of-the-neck-and-make-them-wear-Birkenstocks-and-eat-granola
vision of a clean energy future has little basis in reality.
Facts are important. People who support a fossil fuel industry are entitled
to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own
set of facts.
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