Environment & Energy
Global temperature has been on the rise, with the first decade of the 21st century the warmest on record. Overwhelmingly, scientists agree that man-made climate change is occurring. Climate events are indisputably more frequent, more severe and more destructive. Yet many policymakers have avoided meaningful action to reverse these effects, sometimes claiming that addressing climate change would hamper businesses and the economy. The opposite is true.
Businesses already suffer significant costs from the effects of climate change, including rising health care costs, more stress on the energy grid, and disruptions of transportation infrastructure. And in creating jobs, polluting fossil fuel projects are no match for green fuel projects. A 2012 Cornell University study found that renewable energy projects, per unit of energy, created three times as many jobs as fossil fuel projects. Renewable energy can also spur economic activity businesses need now. Even mitigation projects can be job creators and business boosters: Every day a business most close due to a weather event is a day of lost money and lost employment; sensible mitigation efforts can shorten that downtime.
Local business operations are not the only casualties of climate change. The overall economy is being severely damaged, and the damage has a domino effect. Rising sea levels endanger tourism, manufacturing and other industries in low-lying coastal areas. Changing rainfall patterns have caused an extended drought in California which is raising food prices and threatening consumer spending throughout the U.S.
To help America achieve a safe, sustainable energy policy, ASBC supports:
- Measures such as Clean Energy Victory Bonds, renewable portfolio standards, and feed-in tariffs that encourage development of alternative energy sources.
- Measures discouraging the use of fossil fuels such as opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and limiting carbon emissions on new electrical plants.
- Measures that bring market forces to bear by making explicit the hidden externalities of fossil fuel economy. These measures include levying a price on carbon emissions, eliminating tax subsidies for fossil fuels and ending implicit subsidies, such as leasing federal lands that contain coal or oil at rates below the fair market rate.