The Blame Game, Continued

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Which of the following is not caused by climate change? Rising sea level, drought, less fog, reduced plant growth, warming temperatures, increased rainfall, glacial reduction, heavy snowfall, habitat loss, increased rainfall, increased heat-caused deaths, reduced cold-caused deaths, improved plant growth, higher priced beer or, as somebody actually believes, the death of Loch Ness? Nowadays, every ill fate of nature is blamed on anthropogenic global warming.

Not to worry, according to a former U.S. Department of the Interior deputy, who believes we could prevent climate change, save money, and create jobs all at the same time. “The good news,” about global warming, according to Stephen Saunders, “is that the actions that protect the climate also save energy costs and create clean-energy jobs.” How silly of me – and the rest of the world – not to have caught onto this sooner.

To set the record straight, green energies are more expensive than fossil fuels given current technology, hence the reason they must be subsidized to compete with fossil fuels. On the jobs front, if energy is more expensive then so are all the items we buy (pretty much everything) that require energy for production. This leaves us less money to buy those other things and fewer jobs producing them.

It is myopic to blame every ill fate of nature on human action. It is no less myopic to think that every “green” action saves resources.

Originally posted at Environmental Trends.

Holly Fretwell is a Research Fellow at PERC and an adjunct instructor at Montana State University where she has taught  introductory economics, macroeconomics, natural resources and environmental economics. She works with the Foundation for Teaching Economics, giving workshops for  high school teachers to improve their skills in teaching and using...
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