Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why does the government spend money on sustainability?

By Joe Munoz


     What does it mean to be an agent of change? The topic of climate change has been a dynamic and rapidly enhancing aspect of many fields of research, but what implications do these findings have on us as citizens? It is common to think that simply avoiding contributing to fossil fuels will reduce climate change, but many economists may have a more robust claim: deliberate spending must be undertaken. Curtailing individual efforts alone will not be sufficient in reducing harmful climate effects.

     Many people tend to be scared by the field of economics due to its rigorous mathematical nature. Some see it merely as a political or persuasive construct. At very least for the topic of climate change, the latter is true. Economics should persuade you that to combat the effects of climate change, governments are required to take active steps in investment. This investment is important to reduce climate change through the means of:

  • Government subsidies for mindful business practices.
  • Increased government research through grants and consulting.
  • Public education on climate change.
  • Increasing alternative energy capacities.

     The below video is a presentation by Tim Jackson, on the popular venue TED Talks. In possibly the most succinct explanation of the economics of climate change, he explains why government action is necessary. We, as a public, must deliberately contribute to sustainability as it will not occur by natural private investment.

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