Ever heard this claim? “Switching to renewable energy will hurt the economy. We can’t afford it.”
Some media outlets and public officials love to repeat this one and just like with other claims, the absence of supporting facts doesn’t seem to stop them.
Over and over, we hear the claim that we can’t afford to shift to clean energy and address climate change. Here’s the truth: we can’t afford not to.
According to a 2012 study by the European non-governmental organization the DARA Group and the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the economic losses due to climate change amounted to nearly $700 billion in 2010 alone. And on average each year, climate change is responsible for 400,000 lives lost.
How? Just look at the devastation of the New Jersey shore in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Witness the homes turned to splinters in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan. In each case, the horrifying list of injuries and fatalities was just the beginning, as businesses and the communities that relied on them struggled to get back on their feet long after the rescue crews and television cameras left. Consider the California farmers forced to watch their fields wither as one year of record drought stretches into another. And on and on.
Here’s the flipside to give you a good bit of #ClimateHope: decarbonizing the electricity system would save $1.8 trillion over the coming two decades.
Lose $700 billion or save $1.8 trillion? It’s not a trick question.
If we look at just the US, clean energy innovation could expand GDP by more than $155 billion a year by 2030 (PDF). As demand for dirty fossil fuels declines, demand for clean energy technologies skyrockets, creating good middle-class jobs and new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs in a rapidly growing sector.
We don’t have to choose between affordable clean energy and our economy. Retweet if you agree! pic.twitter.com/MAhjbX5YeM— Climate Reality (@ClimateReality) January 26, 2016
In fact, we’re already seeing this trend as solar-related industries employ more Americans than the coal or the oil extraction industries. And that’s just one example.
Plus, as the use of solar and wind technologies continue to grow while the cost of doing so continues to drop, we’ll be paying less for our energy and less for the impacts of climate change thanks to fossil fuels. Which leaves more money in the pockets of people everywhere. What’s not to like?
GET ANSWERS TO THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
You know climate change is the challenge of our generation. But still, you hear the misinformed questions all the time. If you’re wondering how to respond the next time your great-aunt mistakenly asks if climate change exists or when your brother-in-law claims it’s too late to do anything, download our free e-book The 12 Questions Every Climate Activist Hears and What to Say now and you’ll be ready to give quick, science-based answers to these questions and more.