Current efforts will not bring about meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emission on the order needed to avoid catastrophic damages, says U of R Professor Nicholas Reksten when asked about the Green New Deal
Newswise — "The Green New Deal represents an interesting and promising shift in the U.S. climate policy landscape, as it is the most prominent initiative that understands the need to connect climate change to other economic issues," says Dr. Nicholas Reksten, environmental economist at the University of Redlands.
"While many economists advocate carbon pricing as the only policy needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, others have been more skeptical, noting that a high price on carbon would be regressive and that the negative impacts would be concentrated among certain industries and locations. While huge swaths of the world economy are starting to use carbon pricing, the prices charged are not nearly high enough to bring about meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emission on the order needed to avoid catastrophic damages, and, elsewhere, opposition to any carbon pricing remains intractable," he says.
"The Yellow Vest protests in France over the increase in diesel fuel taxes and the failure of a carbon tax in Washington state in November 2018 provide stark reminders of this dynamic. The solution that many progressives see, therefore, is to use other policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to pay attention to distributional issues.
"For example, with aggressive climate policy, some workers would need to shift industries, but there would be a great need for people to do things such as build renewable energy infrastructure and retrofit buildings.
"The Green New Deal tries to address this with policies that call for aggressive action on the sustainability side supplemented by things like a federal job guarantee. The policy list released so far is a starting point for further discussion, but it shows that some policymakers are beginning to understand that gravity of the ecological crisis that confronts humanity."