One can admit that cutting CO₂ has a cost, but argue the climate benefits are still worth it. But we need to be honest there’s a trade-off
The concept of trade-offs has become unfashionable. Politicians around the world like to pretend that their choices will bring us nothing but superlative benefits.
Nowhere is this whitewashing more pervasive or accepted than in climate change. There is a prevalent, comforting notion that we can have our cake and eat it too: that cutting carbon need not involve financial sacrifice.
We hear this rhetoric so often that we almost don’t notice it. In announcing plans to make the UK a global hub for “green finance,” the British minister of state for climate change and industry Claire Perry said, “The transition to a low carbon economy is a multi-billion pound investment opportunity.” Norway’s Prime Minister recently claimed climate change offers “an opportunity for development and growth.”
And some politicians claim that the OECD has boosted this case with a report called “Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth.” The Chilean environment minister Marcelo Mena says the OECD finds “climate action causes increased growth.”
The simplest response to all this is to ask: if climate policies really are economically beneficial, why do we need the expensive Paris Treaty, or urgings from climate campaigners? Why indeed does a Nature analysis find every major developed nation is failing to meet its climate promises?
For the rest of this column: http://nationalpost.com/opinion/the-green-opportunity-having-our-cake-and-eating-it-too