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Climate War!

The Republican party has lurched from claiming that climate change doesn’t exist (including Trump’s claim that it is a Chinese hoax), to admitting that it does exist but that it is not caused by humans, to just attacking it as a job killer. What they are really doing is “picking winners and losers” by trying to prop up old failing technologies like coal. Why? Because it gets them cold, hard cash in the form of campaign contributions from fossil-fuel energy companies (who may be failing, but still have donations to throw around).

So they go negative and pull out of the Paris climate accords, reverse anti-pollution regulations, and try to kill sustainable energy initiatives.

You know, the same kind of strategy they are executing to kill Obamacare to keep the health insurance companies making money so they can donate contributions. It is a cynical strategy that obviously won’t work over the long term (like giving tax breaks to the wealthy), but they don’t care as long as it gets them their money fix.

Unfortunately for them, even their claim that fighting climate change will be a “job killer” is a big lie. A new report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate points out something important that should be fairly obvious: a war against climate change will create jobs, not kill them.

After all, it was World War II that finally got us out of the great depression. War stimulates the economy. But not just real wars, but virtual ones too. Like the space race (part of the cold war) ushered in the age of computers and cell phones. One can only imagine that if something like this were happening now, the Republicans would be campaigning to save land-line phones and all those jobs manufacturing slide rules.

The report points out that fighting climate change would provide economic benefits of $26 trillion by 2030, and create more than 65 million new jobs worldwide. And unlike a real war, a war against climate change would prevent 700,000 premature deaths.

There is plenty of evidence that fighting climate change would generate jobs. After all, the coal industry, which Trump is fighting so hard to save, employed only 160,119 Americans in 2016, while the solar energy industry employed 373,807 Americans — more than twice as many. And that doesn’t include other sustainable energy industries, like wind (101,738) and bioenergy (130,677). These numbers come from a report from the US Department of Energy.


Also published on Medium.

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9 Comments

  1. Wildwood wrote:

    Do the sustainable energy companies have a joint effort in place to buy some politicians? If not, they need to. Given what you get, politicians are a bargain. Maybe someone could set up a go fund me account to get them a few politicians to start them off.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Not sure if that would help right now. Most Democratic politicians would support fighting climate change even without being bought.

    While for Republican pols, it would require them to buck both the Republican leadership and Donald Trump. Besides, to publicly support fighting climate change, they would have to support more regulation of businesses (like fossil fuel companies), which would cost them other campaign contributions and piss off those powerful lobbies. Not to mention that they would likely be primaried.

    As usual, it is all about money.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  3. Mad Hatter wrote:

    I miss my yellow Pickett slide rule with its leather holster. It just screamed “NERD” wherever I was.

    I think I’ll talk to Donnie about bringing ’em back. Should be right up his alley.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yeah, I had a really nice circular slide rule back in the day. Got me through an engineering degree. Then I worked for TI, and when they released their first pocket-sized calculator we all had to get one!

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  5. Mad Hatter wrote:

    Oh the nostalgia. My first TI was the TI-58. Used it for school and work…loved it!!

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
  6. Wildwood wrote:

    Mad Hatter. Using Donnie and slide rule in the same sentence? Really. I doubt if he knows what one is. And if he does, I would bet the house, he doesn’t know how to use it.

    IK, I think you could buy some Republicans with the right amount of money and I suspect that those not being bought, would suddenly begin thinking that maybe the environment should be saved. It just takes a few to change the direction of the herd. And I also think there are a substantial number of Repub voters who think our current climate policy is batshit crazy and would be happy to vote for a pol who agrees with them.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  7. rk wrote:

    I need to challenge the idea that war stimulates the economy. World War II was a major exception, the US, we increased our work force by hiring women to replace the men off to war, and at a low wage at that. Men worked cheaply if they couldn’t go to war, and people scrimped and saved resources. Normally, only the winner comes out ahead by raping the loser of resources.

    War is very expensive and redirects resources away from the economy. It normally leaves the land scrubbed and often pitted, farms deserted, many towns in ruins. The US wasn’t subject to any of this.

    Europe was left with deep debts, often to the US.

    Sorry, you pushed my button!

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  8. rk wrote:

    I don’t understand why it seems ok with people to say that climate change isn’t caused by humans. What does that change? We still have a dim future and something needs to be done. I encounter too many people who respond this way, it drives me nuts!!

    Ack, you got me twice with this post.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    RK, you are totally right on your second point. Just because there have been climate disasters in the past doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight to prevent them now. Indeed, the fact that we know they can happen should encourage us to prevent them if we can.

    Unless of course, one is of the opinion that since the extinction of the dinosaurs made way for mammals, maybe having a hell of a climate catastrophe would make way for the next dominant species. Probably intelligent cockroaches.

    As for your first point, it is beside the point. A war against climate change is not a real war, so why argue whether real wars stimulate the economy? The report shows that a virtual war against climate change would stimulate the economy. In addition to lots of other benefits.

    The only downside to fighting climate change is that it will replace old technologies with new, better ones. Unfortunately, those old technologies include fossil fuels, which has a powerful lobby.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink