Eco-Living Magazine

Bet on Renewables, Says Economist

Posted on the 03 October 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev
There’s a fiscal argument for green energy/photo by Flickr user Abi Skipp

Keeping ourselves from killing each other with pollution has long been achieved — to the extent that it has been done at all — through government regulation, while the free-market-mandate conservatives have argued that if the cheapest energy is created by clubbing baby seals and using their bodies for fuel, so be it. Let the market bear what it will.

The market might have borne all it can, according to the guy who predicted the internet and housing bubbles. The days of “promoting green energy” being synonymous with “bleeding-heart liberalism” (or worse) may be drawing to an end.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, economist Jeremy Grantham says clean energy is a better investment bet than extractive energy sources.

“I wouldn’t own coal, and I wouldn’t own tar sands,” he says. “It’s hugely expensive to build coal utilities, and the plants they have to build for tar sands are massive, and before they get their money back I suspect that the price of solar and wind will have come down so much.”

The chief investment strategist for GMO argues that climate change and the dearth of natural resources are real economic concerns (because aren’t economic concerns the only real concerns?) and the market’s reaction has been, in fact, hindered by government intervention.

“If the oil industry is making a bundle, which they are, they don’t want to change to a system that recognizes climate change and the need to have a tax on carbon. And they can fund right-wing think tanks, and they do… When [politicians] depend so much on campaign contributions, and they find the campaign contributions come so much from the vested interests, the financial world, but more particularly the energy world, it’s a bloody miracle anything gets done.”

As we experience a federal government shutdown, that last part seems pretty darn apt.

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