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Aggressive climate change policy urged

solar power
Investment in renewable energy, such as solar power, would grow the United States' economy, according to the WWF-Tellus report.   

August 11, 1999
Web posted at: 4:03 p.m. EDT (2003 GMT)


(ENN) -- An aggressive climate change policy laden with incentives for renewable energy and fuel efficient technologies would benefit the environment, save the United States billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs, according to a report released Tuesday.

"With smart policies, climate protection could become an economic engine, unleashing entrepreneurial creativity on a problem that otherwise threatens huge economic and environmental costs," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate change campaign at the World Wildlife Fund.

Many of the world's leading scientists believe that increased emissions of carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution have led to increased global temperatures and if left unchecked, they threaten to wreak havoc on Earth.

World leaders at a summit in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, agreed to curb global emissions of greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide, by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The United States agreed to a seven percent cut.

While the United States has signed the Kyoto Protocol, the Senate refuses to ratify the treaty out of a fear that doing so will irreparably harm the economy of the country.

Environmentalists beg to differ. The most recent volley in the debate over how the treaty will not harm the economy comes from World Wildlife Fund and the Tellus Institute.

The report, "America's Global Warming Solutions," shows how efficient and non-polluting technologies could save the United States as much as $43 billion a year in energy costs, create more than 870,000 jobs by 2010 and allow the country to reduce emissions by 14 percent below 1990 levels.

The results come from a mix of policies designed to drive innovation in energy resources and technology, including incentives for efficient vehicles and equipment, elimination of regulatory impediments and new efficiency standards for buildings, cars and other gear.

"If you put it all together, each house would have $400 to spend (a year) on things other than energy," said Morgan. As well, every state in the country would benefit in new jobs, even those states that are likely to experience job losses in sectors such as old, coal-fired power plants.

"In some of the more energy intensive industries, there would be negative change in jobs," said Morgan. "But when you look at state levels, even states that had large sectors of the energy industries in them, they had overall positive change in jobs."

Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved

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America's Global Warming Solution
ENN Special Report: Climate Change
EPA Global Warming Site
Kyoto Protocol
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