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The Green New Deal: Not Insanity, but an Investment

leonkaye headshotWords by Leon Kaye
Energy & Environment
Green New Deal

Among the many news stories that marked 2019, the Green New Deal was one ongoing discussion that exemplified a deeply divided America. Proponents saw this massive plan as a way to wean America off of fossil fuels, avoid ruinous climate change and also create new jobs. Critics viewed the concept as one that would disrupt the economy, and not for the better. While much of the U.S. public is supportive of at least some of the Green New Deal’s goals, political reality has sidelined the proposal for now.

On the heels of COP25, which for the most part analysts have described as a flop, one study has come out suggesting that kickstarting the Green New Deal into high gear, and scaling it worldwide, could be well worth the investment for citizens and businesses alike.

Last week, a Stanford University researcher published the results of his number crunching and concluded that while the implementation of a worldwide Green New Deal during a seven-year span would cost a whopping $76 trillion dollars, the global economy would recoup that massive sum relatively quickly by reaping annual savings of about $11 trillion – not to mention the fact that citizens would benefit from reduced climate action risks, cleaner air, fewer blackouts and more reliable sources of energy and power.

Workers would benefit too, according to the study’s author, Mark Z. Jacobson. The rollout of the a global Green New Deal would launch new jobs in project development, construction and new sites of power generation – as well as in the finance and supply chain sectors. The net result: 28.6 million more jobs would be created than lost.

Jacobson’s research was based on modeling that incorporated many factors, including the analysis of demand projections for seven types of fuel sources across 143 nations. By switching from fossil fuels to more renewable sources of energy, he concluded such a change would result in a 57 percent reduction in energy needs and more than a 60 percent decrease in energy and power costs. Most dramatically, such a policy overhaul would generate a reduction in social costs by over 90 percent, due to decreased expenditures for health care as well as less spending on infrastructure related to climate change risks.

The numbers are convincing, though Jacobson’s methodology have been scrutinized in the past. Bloomberg, for example, has pointed out that he was criticized for a 2017 article that measured the costs of phasing out fossil fuels. And even though renewables have scaled up at a rate that seemed unimaginable only a decade ago, continued demand for energy means solar and wind technologies are constantly challenged to keep pace.

Image credit: Angie Warren/Unsplash

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media. His previous work can be found at The GuardianSustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.

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