Economics Fun: Addressing Climate Change an Economic Opportunity

I like numbers and money. But more than those, I have a deep care and devotion for making this earth not just livable, but a world of thriving ecosystems. When politicians attempt to deal with environmental issues, economic concerns are always at the forefront of the conversation, hindering the advancement of discussion in many circumstances. Yet time and time again research and support arises indicating the opportunities that could come from addressing climate change.

I read a recent article, titled Climate change more an opportunity than a threat in which these two, often competing, goals come into play, and in a way that appeals to my interests and also offers great support for more action.

As an overarching summary: in addition to mitigating risks to the climate, reducing emissions will increase productivity, stimulate infrastructure investment and improve public health. That sounds great and everything, but can you quantify it? In fact, many people have. The federal Clean Power Plan quantifies the annual climate and health benefits of reduced power plant emissions at between $30 billion and $100 billion. The Environmental Protection Agency calculates that each dollar invested in reducing carbon emissions also cuts other pollutants, producing $7 of public health benefits. S&P 500 companies that manage their climate impact have higher profitability, lower volatility and stronger dividend growth than their peers. Every opportunity for innovation also means opportunity for profit, more opportunity to make the market more efficient, and more opportunity to strengthen the economy.

This was brief introduction to the economic benefits of addressing climate change. As the semester rolls on, I will blog some updates from my learnings in class as well as my own research. Take care!

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