Is environmental activism bad for business? History does not suggest

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One of the big questions facing policymakers is whether to move forward with their climate and environmental goals or relax them during the global health pandemic. The Trump administration chooses the latter, arguing that regulatory pressures on business are, well, bad for business.

The world community is suffering. But a group of prominent academics came to a different conclusion than the White House. the Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment analyzed the issue and concluded that investing in green technologies is the most effective way to bring an economy back to health. Renewable energy projects and modern electricity grids may provide the most powerful drug, he says, noting that these efforts have a long-term return on investment.

“Green fiscal stimulus programs can act to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions and reduce existing welfare inequalities that will be exacerbated by the pandemic in the short term and by climate change in the long term,” says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, British Climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern, Cameron Hepburn, Brian O’Callaghan, Dimitri Zenghelis, author of the just published Oxford study.

They looked at previous economic recoveries and interviewed central bankers and senior economists around the world.

How will this message resonate not only with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, but also with investor groups and voters in general? Congress has enacted nearly $ 3 trillion in stimulus bills so far, with the vast majority to pay for families, small businesses and to help struggling industries. Other invoices are planned. The only area where a compromise is possible is to provide aid to oil and gas drillers in exchange for extending tax breaks to wind and solar developers as well as buyers of electric vehicles.

But the reality is that both sides have returned to their respective corners. the House Republicans on Energy and Trade Committee tweeted that “Americans want relief and results – not radicalism.” Democrats, meanwhile, point to the Obama administration’s success with the new energy economy and how investments in areas such as wind and solar, microgrids and battery storage have advanced the economy. energy and environmentalism – measures that were once called radical but have now become mainstream. .

“Ultimately, in their stimulus packages, governments should prioritize sustainability and equity and accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions economy to mitigate climate risks, create new jobs and catalyze climate change. sustainable deployment of private capital, ”says a group of shareholder groups of shareholders including CERES, Principles for Responsible Investment and Carbon Disclosure Project. “Stimulus packages that worsen climate change would expose investors and national economies …”

Among the energy companies that support their mission: Edison International

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, Exelon Corp.

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and National Grid

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.

Not as usual

the Pew Research Center finds that two-thirds of American adults don’t think the US government is doing enough to tackle climate change. These results are consistent with the analyzes he performed before the coronavirus. But his study also shows a clear division between the parties on these issues. The only caveat is that Republican millennials and women favor stronger environmental stances.

This may explain why the Trump administration has tried to overturn almost all of the environmental policies set by the Obama administration: energy efficiency standards, mercury rules and carbon limits, to name just three. . In response to the pandemic, the US Environmental Protection Agency has said it is suspending regulatory oversight – a decision that is currently the subject of litigation.

The White House believes in financial aid first. But economic recovery and environmental activism are not mutually exclusive. The Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment study underscores this. Additionally, using the coronavirus as an excuse to avoid energy and environmental improvements is misguided: not only is it a hard sell in a general election, but also Harvard University Air pollution and COVID-19-related death rates are linked, study finds – that a small increase in particles leads to a large increase in these deaths.

In addition, clean energy is an American success story: employment in the sector has increased by 10.4% since 2015, according to Clean Jobs America 2020 – a report sponsored by E2 and studied by BW Research. In 2019, clean energy accounted for 40% of employment in the energy industry and 2.5% of the country’s overall employment.

The cumulative effect changes minds – on both sides of the aisle. RepublicEn.org, and ConservAmerica are two Republican groups who argue that economic growth and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.

“The only way to create long-term lasting change is for all parties to come together at the table,” adds Michael Cain, president and co-founder of Dallas. EarthxFilm, during an interview with this writer. “We are creating a centrist platform to enter into a sensitive conversation and achieve positive results for the planet. It is a safe space and we want everyone to feel that their voice will be heard.

During times of stress, the natural reflex is to curl up. But if the Great Recession has taught us anything, it’s time to take bold action during tough economic times: it’s good for business and it can be good policy too. The same questions are now before American lawmakers and they will eventually come before the American people.





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