Climate Change, the Economy, and Misconceptions
"We can't afford it right now!"
A green transition will not be free, there are substantial costs involved. However, these costs must be weighed against the potential savings and benefits. We already spend tens of billions of dollars annually on direct climate change damage. One oft-cited concern is that climate policies will place an extra burden on our lowest-income neighbours. State policies can mitigate costs by ensuring the most vulnerable do not suffer at the hands of climate policy and that costs are shared equitably. Furthermore, the cost of sustainable technology is dropping rapidly while the amount of jobs and economic activity it produces is skyrocketing!
While economic growth has historically been inherently linked to natural degradation, it is not set in stone. First, if industry makes a holistic and serious effort to be truly sustainable, growth should not be a concern as the industry is sustainable. It must also be noted that there ARE industries that do not inherently rely on natural degradation or have made strides to be sustainable. For example, education is a massive industry over 1 trillion USD in the United States alone. Many Software companies have also worked to considerably reduce their contribution to climate change.
"Responsible climate policy will result in stagnation"
"Too many jobs will be lost"
Some argue that pioneering the green transition, specifically the move towards sustainable energy production will result in the loss of many many high-paying jobs. While some jobs may be lost, it is not a zero-sum game. As the green industry grows, so will the number of employees required to manage the industry and the highly specialized equipment it relies on. This means that not only will jobs be made but the transition will result in high-paying jobs. For example, the average annual salary of an oil or gas field driller in Alberta is just over $75,000 (CAD) while a solar installer averages $70,000 (CAD) and a geothermal energy technician averages over $85,000 (CAD). Therefore, while jobs may change there will be jobs and high-paying ones at that!