Friday, May 7, 2010

Green riches will not materialise

I was delighted this week to get another article published by the prestigious Arab news portal and newspaper Alrroya:

In it I take a sceptical look at all the optimistic claims made by Greens and politicians about the green economy. It has become accepted wisdom that moving to a low carbon economy will be good for jobs, growth and living standards whereas the opposite is probably true.

It recognises that there are economic gains to be made from energy conservation measures and that individual countries could do well if they become the most efficient and technically advanced in the new industries but on the whole the "greening" of the world's economies is more than likely going to be a long and expensive slog.

Barring the discovery of a miracle fuel or energy process, the move to renewables and the cost of the huge infrastrutcure investments required for the low carbon economy will mean higher prices and lower living standards. The net effect on jobs and growth could be neutral if resources are merely redirected to green projects from the rest of the economy but I suspect, knowing the track record of governments, that a lot of bad tax policy and clumsy state intervention will actually destroy jobs and reduce growth rates.

It might look on the surface like an anti-environmental , green bashing piece but actually I am very supportive of the green agenda. I hate the thoughtless waste of precious resources and destruction of our natural world. I fear for my children's economic future if we don't succeed in building an energy system which is not so heavily reliant on oil. I don't buy the whole global warming argument uncritically but it would be stupid to ignore the risks posed by ever increasing carbon emissions. Therefore we need green policies but just don't try selling them to me as an economic panacea.

No comments:

Post a Comment

OctoFinder Blog and ping Spanish Insight - Blogged