The Union of Concerned Scientists has done a series of studies looking at the economic benefits of moving toward a greener economy. In particular, they have examined the implications of a 15 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2020, as included in HR3221, the House Energy Bill.
Their October update, in summary:
$13 billion to $18.1 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 (growing to $27.7 billion to $31.8 billion by 2030)
Reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking between 13.7 and 20.6 million cars off the road
Pretty impressive opportunity from just one straightforward measure. This is one way people can make good by going good. (Or, alternatively, make green by
Now, personally, the House’s 15 percent by 2020 doesn’t go far enough. Governor Richardson’s Energy Revolution calls for 30 percent by 2020. That sounds like a real objective, to me, but even 20 percent (as per Energize America’s targe) would be a nice target.
And, well, in July UCS issued an analysis of a 20 percent target that showed:
185,000 new jobs from renewable energy development
$66.7 billion in new capital investment, $25.6 billion in income to farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners, and $2 billion in new local tax revenues
$10.5 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 (growing to $31.8 billion by 2030)
Reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking 36.4 million cars off the road
With these kind of benefits, with these kinds of numbers, what is the fundamental basis for opposing moves toward a more renewable energy system? Is it simply the entrenched power of the fossil-fuel industry?
PS: And, by the way, the analysis seems to understate the actual benefits because it does not address improved health, reduced impact on the land, etc …