Another year, same gas / Columns / The Foreigner

Another year, same gas. International climate change annual negotiations have concluded with big countries using the same arguments to avoid reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They state a real deal will hurt the economy, cost jobs, and we cannot afford it. Really? Most countries against a legitimate agreement heavily subsidise their fossil fuel and/or nuclear energy industries. That tax money burns unsustainable fuels, but also creates jobs in those industries; government-subsidised jobs. That money could be spent to create government-subsidised jobs in the renewable energy and energy saving industries instead. Furthermore, that would shift heavy investment in infrastructure to investing heavily in jobs.

climatechange, co2emissions, greehousegases



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Another year, same gas

Published on Friday, 16th December, 2011 at 12:06 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

International climate change annual negotiations have concluded with big countries using the same arguments to avoid reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They state a real deal will hurt the economy, cost jobs, and we cannot afford it. Really?

Industrialisation
Industrialisation
Photo: Vivek Mukherjee/Flickr


Most countries against a legitimate agreement heavily subsidise their fossil fuel and/or nuclear energy industries. That tax money burns unsustainable fuels, but also creates jobs in those industries; government-subsidised jobs.

That money could be spent to create government-subsidised jobs in the renewable energy and energy saving industries instead. Furthermore, that would shift heavy investment in infrastructure to investing heavily in jobs.

Fossil fuel and nuclear plants are large and centralised, costing billions of kroner to build, maintain, and decommission. In contrast, many sustainable options are small-scale, local, and labour-intensive.

We do not need fields or seas of giant wind turbines, or vast desert swathes of solar panels for energy supply. Small wind turbines and solar panels can be installed house-by-house, and maintained by local experts, creating local jobs.

Reducing energy demand usually requires brainpower and innovation. This comes from labour, not infrastructure. Must those jobs be subsidised by the government? In reality, many of the small-scale energy solutions make money.

It is, in fact, the companies providing sustainable energy products and services which generate employment. Meanwhile, the end user is happy to pay, because it lowers their energy bill. 

The local, labour-intensive nature of sustainable energy supply and demand creates jobs, encourages innovation, and we see reductions in government subsidies, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change costs. The overall economy only gains.

Hence, the question is not "Who will suffer to pay for a climate change deal, the questions for a real climate deal are "do we have the personnel to fill all the jobs available" and "what will we do with all the money saved"?

So save money by cutting the hot air, literally.

Dr. Ilan Kelman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO).



Published on Friday, 16th December, 2011 at 12:06 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: climatechange, co2emissions, greehousegases.





  
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