Climate Change + Green Jobs
Is it hot in here? Um, yeah. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) the last year (June 2011 to May 2012) has been the warmest since they started keeping records in 1985.
Remember those soda bottle terrariums from elementary school? Well, you’re in one. When the planet heats up it means more water evaporates and piles up in clouds until comes crashing back down to earth.
In the US that warming trend looks like heat waves, droughts and wildfires in some parts of the country - and floods, Snomaggedon and record-breaking storms in others. The hit to American wallets from extreme weather was more than $14 billion in 2011 alone. Of course the real costs were in lives lost and property destroyed.
Climate change is showing up in other parts of the world, too. It turns out that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster that scientist for thought it would. The Himalayan glaciers that are the source of drinking water for more than a billion people in Asia are disappearing. And the leaders of some island nations are already making plans about where to relocate their countries’ citizens.
But we can stave off the worst of climate chaos if globally we cut greenhouse gas pollution way back right away – starting here at home.
The people who make decisions in Washington are dragging their feet partly because they say there’s no money to act. And the leaders of other countries say there’s no reason for them to act if the US – the biggest climate polluter in history – doesn’t take the first step.
Luckily we have a solution to raise billions of dollars that can be spent on all of the good ideas that already exist to lower greenhouse gas pollution, and on making our communities and families more resilient to the extreme weather events that are already on our doorstep.
A Robin Hood Tax could raise billions every year to jumpstart an economy that works for people and the planet – both at home and abroad.
The longer we wait to deal with climate change, the more it will cost. In 2006, renowned British economist Nicolas Stern estimated that dealing with climate change would cost 1% of global GDP. Two years later he revised that number up to 2% because of the lack of action.
The reality is that upfront investment in a clean, green economy is good for working families in the U.S. and it’s good for families in Bangladesh, Brazil and Bulgaria.
For example, here at home we could create 2.3 million stable, good paying jobs (twice as much as in today’s throw away system), cut 515 million tons of CO2, and clean up toxic pollution that makes people sick if we spent the money to shift 75% of our trash into recycling and composting programs.
By the same token, if we invest $150 billion in clean energy , we could net 1.7 million new jobs in just two years. And every dollar we into clean energy creates three times as many jobs as putting that same dollar into oil and gas, so we save money while we save the planet.
And then there’s the climate debt we owe to impoverished countries – those places that are feeling the first and worst impacts of climate change, but are least responsible for causing it. The US promised to help move $100 billion per year by 2020 from rich nations, but we’ve pretty much ignored that promise so far.
Putting the brakes on global warming will cost a lot of money, but it’s money well spent on making the environment cleaner, jobs more plentiful, and our lives better. It’s worth it.
What Robin can do
This is a no-brainer. We only have one planet, so it’s got to be a priority to keep it livable. We know we can’t save the planet overnight, but we can take the first step by raising the money we need to pay for the programs that will help.
A tiny tax on financial speculation is a piece of that puzzle. It will raise a significant amount of money while curbing the kind of trading that undermines long-term investment and the economic stability needed for ecological sustainability.