(OrganicJar) “The financial crisis and prospect of global recession has created an unexpected opportunity to take dramatic action on behalf of the planet. It has become clear that governments will need to intervene in their economies on an unprecedented scale, and many are now considering stimulating growth with massive investment programs. However, it must be recognized that such large-scale intervention will not succeed unless we also protect the environmental capitol that underpins our economic health.” — WASHINGTON
The response to the credit crunch has demonstrated the vast sums of money governments can make available at low rates of interest when they believe it is required. Already governments have pledged over 2.5 trillion dollars of preferential debt or direct funding to be made available to the financial sector over the next two years.
Greenpeace and others are calling for a planetary rescue package to create jobs, rebuild the economy, and protect the climate for future generations.
What Needs To Be Done:
1. Increase research and development on clean energy and energy efficiency. A new Greenpeace and European Renewable Energy Council report shows that investment in clean power and energy efficiency worldwide would create a $360 billion a year industry.
2. Quitting coal. The biggest contributor to global warming pollution in the United States is coal-fired power plants.
3. Address global warming and invigorate the economy, taxpayers can no longer afford to underwrite the cost of dirty, dangerous and prohibitively expensive technologies, like nuclear and so-called “clean coal”
4. Bring the nation’s power grid into the 21st century. Our power grid is outmoded, overloaded, and unable to provide the country the clean energy it needs now. A new report estimates that we lose six to nine percent of all the power that enters the grid at a cost of $20 billion annually.
5. Create a “forests for climate” fund. Healthy and expansive forests serve as critical “carbon sinks” that turn carbon dioxide pollution into oxygen.
Greenpeace’s global energy blueprint is available for download at:
Making The Transition
Finally, in order to jumpstart a clean energy economy, the government must not only create an environment where technological innovation is rewarded, it must require polluters to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions. Today, polluters dump carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere free of charge while the public picks up the tab in the form of massive health costs, acid rain, and global warming impacts.
To move toward a clean economy, the United States needs to implement a cap-and-trade system that requires polluters to pay for their emissions. Polluters must be required to buy 100 percent of all pollution permits at public auctions managed by open and transparent bodies.
Greenpeace estimates that such an auction could generate $250 billion in the United States annually. The revenues must be used for public benefit, such as investments in renewable energy technology, grid development, public transport infrastructure, forest preservation, helping low and moderate income consumers with increased energy costs and helping vulnerable communities adapt to unavoidable climate impacts.
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