The Plague Economy: Inequality and the Preoccupation with Growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines that highlight weaknesses in our economic system. Unfettered capitalism imperils biodiversity and endangers the future of civilization. Julia Steinberger echoes these sentiments saying that confronting capitalism is the only way we can "avoid disaster". We will not be able to protect the natural world or combat global warming without changes in corporate governance and more specifically the fiduciary obligation to deliver profits. Even more fundamentally we need to challenge the business ethos that seeks profit at the expense of everything else. Our metrics must reflect the costs and the risks associated with environmental...

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Decarbonization Through Electrification Creates Jobs

There is a positive vision emerging of decarbonization through electrification. This would not only substantially reduce climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, but it would also buoy the economy and provide jobs. This pandemic can be a turning point. The coronavirus has already augured a 4-7 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions along with other environmental benefits. Although COVID-19 has decimated the energy sector it will disproportionately enfeeble the fossil fuel industry and embolden renewable energy. The pandemic has already changed the way we work and green stimulus spending could revolutionize our economies.On the afternoon of Thursday, May 28, 2020, experts...

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Energy Job Losses in the US Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused massive energy job losses. Some sectors have been hit harder than others and while many energy jobs will return others may not. Our economies will be decimated by the coronavirus and millions of jobs have disappeared forever, however, there is an upside to this deadly pandemic that bodes well for employment opportunities in some sectors over the long term. This is the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression. So far 36 million Americans have lost their jobs and according to Fed estimates, a total of 47 million jobs could be lost resulting in an unemployment rate...

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The Economic Opportunities Associated with Carbon Removal

  Technologies that draw down carbon represent a massive economic opportunity. The global carbon capture and sequestration market is projected to reach USD 8.05 billion by 2021, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 13.6 percent from 2016 to 2021. According to some estimates carbon capture and utilization (CCU)** alone will be a $1 trillion market by 2030. Others have suggested that capture is a $4 trillion opportunity.  There are numerous co-benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in addition to climate mitigation. This includes those that improve health. These health co-benefits could be worth $100 US per tonne of...

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Net Economic Gains from Climate Action

Cost is a commonly cited reason for resistance to climate action, however when we factor co-benefits and the real costs of inaction the logic for action is overwhelming  Research shows that when we include reduced death and disease as well as increased technological innovation and other co-benefits, the costs of climate action offer a  net economic benefit. When we add up the costs of action and compare them to the costs of inaction the value equation becomes clear.  The benefits of climate action far outweigh the costs.  This includes $160 trillion dollars worth of savings associated with climate action and...

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The Booming Green Economy: The Number of Renewable Energy Jobs Crush Fossil Fuels

Renewable energy is on the rise and the sun is setting on fossil fuels. The economic dominance of the old energy industry is coming to an end and a new economic powerhouse is gaining ground. Demand for coal has collapsed and oil and gas are sure to follow. Led by renewable energy the green economy now provides many more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.  IRENA reports that there were 11 million people employed in renewable energy last year. The report also says transitioning away from fossil fuels towards renewables makes good economic sense. This includes $160 trillion in savings...

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The Size of the Green Economy and the Growth of Renewable Energy

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that there are $160 trillion of savings associated with renewables and other climate actions. Led by renewable energy the green economy is growing by leaps and bounds yet it is still an undervalued opportunity. Clean energy is benefiting from the mutually reinforcing factors of increasing demand and declining costs. Tremendous declines in the price of solar and battery storage make a compelling business case for renewables. Despite resistance from the federal government, the US is seeing a renewable energy boom as states and utilities are setting ambitious clean energy goals. According to an...

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Energy Jobs and the Economy: Kenney’s Plans for Alberta

Alberta's new premiere Jason Kenney claims that by prioritizing the fossil fuel industry he can increase jobs and grow the economy. This was the central plank in Kenney's United Conservative Party (UCP) election platform. It is also an oft repeated refrain from conservative politicians.  However, this view fails to acknowledge that market forces are powering the demise of traditional energy. There is mounting evidence demonstrating that macroeconomic trends are driving the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. Despite the politically motivated rhetoric of conservative politician, the evidence shows that the fossil fuel industry is dying. Alberta is not...

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Climate Change is a Women’s Issue and so is the Clean Economy

In terms of climate change impacts women have the most to lose and in terms of engaging climate action they have the most to gain. Women are the sex most likely to suffer from the effects of climate change and they have been shown to be better environmental stewards than their male counterparts. Women are on the front lines of climate change and they are have made major contributions to both environmentalism and sustainability.  However, there is a vast potential that has yet to be fully unleashed. B U S I N E S S   &  E C O N...

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Does Business Need Government to Incentivize the Green Economy?

The business community is driving sustainability forward in response to market incentives. The question is how far can the private sector go in the absence of responsible leadership from government? Businesses are leading first and foremost because they are looking to reduce costs and capitalize on opportunities. Other factors are also at play. Publically traded companies are beholden to shareholders and as such, they have a fiduciary responsibility to address threats. Investors are calling for nonfinancial information and a number of shareholder resolutions have demanded more disclosure and actions to mitigate climate change as well as adaptation strategies to protect...

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