NEW YORK – Amid the pressures of the global financial crisis, some ask how we can afford to tackle climate change. The better question is: how can we afford not to?
Put aside the familiar arguments – that the science is clear, that climate change represents an indisputable existential threat to the planet, and that every day we do not act the problem grows worse. Instead, let us make the case purely on bread-and-butter economics.
At a time when the global economy is sputtering, we need growth. At a time when unemployment in many nations is rising, we need new jobs. At a time when poverty threatens to overtake hundreds of millions of people, especially in the least developed parts of the world, we need the promise of prosperity. This possibility is at our fingertips.
Economists at the United Nations call for a Green New Deal – a deliberate echo of the energizing vision of United States President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Thus, this week the UN Environment Program will launch a plan for reviving the global economy while dealing simultaneously with the defining challenge of our era – climate change.