As the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began hearings on carbon regulation, debate ran along traditional battle lines, but with a new script. Democrats Barbara Boxer (CA) and John Kerry (MA) moved away from discussing the environmental impacts of climate change — and the reason, therefore, to take action to reduce carbon emissions — and focused instead on the economic benefits of a domestic clean energy economy. Meanwhile, Republicans James Inhofe (OK) and Lamar Alexander (TN) complained that energy bills would rise and Americans would lose jobs.
It’s a good thing that Congress is finally looking at the economics of climate change and carbon reductions, because the overwhelming amount of data — buttressed by common sense — shows that reducing carbon will be very good for our economy overall.
One of the biggest sources of carbon reductions will be in the area of energy efficiency and that does cost money, it saves money.
Wal-mart , for example, said that if each of their 100 million customers bought just one compact florescent light bulb to replace an incandescent bulb, those consumers would save over $3 billion in electricity costs over the life of the bulbs (after deducting the higher up-front cost of the new bulbs).
Renewable energy, another carbon-reducing technology, creates jobs in the US and saves money too. Alan Horn, President and CEO of Warner Brothers , told me recently that his studio is covering large soundstages with enough solar to provide up to 10% of their massive energy needs. After a 7 to 10 year payback, they will get that amount of their electricity free for decades to come. Moreover, that multi-million dollar project put people to work in Burbank, California, not China or India, and didn’t take away a single job from anyone.