It is a godsend. It is not castor oil that we have to drink. It is in my view, for the United States, the greatest economic opportunity that we’ve had since we mobilized for World War II. And if we do it right, it will produce job gains and income gains substantially greater than those produced in the 1990s when I had the privilege to be president.
— Bill Clinton, from a recent speech about global warming
Could such crazy, cockeyed optimism possibly be justified? Maybe so. If we all start rowing the boat the same way, that is. Which is what he’s talking about, I think.
Worldchanging has more on the speech.
- Persistent inequality is sapping our strength at home and in the world.
- Identity differences are overshadowing our common humanity, and dragging down everyone involved
- The problem of a lack of sustainability is even worse than captured in “An Inconvenient Truth” because of two related issues: the diminishing availability of natural resources and population growth.
But here’s the good news: tackling climate change, if we do it right, will help us overcome inequality and divisiveness.
Clinton emphasized cities as enormous opportunities, from better buildings to better transportation, water infrastructure to solid waste, renewable energy and above all, efficiency. If the United States, India, China and Russia were simply to achieve the existing energy efficiency standards of Japan, he noted, we’d reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
Clinton’s proposal ties in with what The Breakthrough Institute favors, a massive unified effort by government, private industry, and people to solve global warming – encouraged and fostered by making it a positive experience rather than something dire. Clinton told mayors at the speech they could save money and encourage business by going green, a more effective approach than scaring them with gloomy predictions (which can backfire, causing eco-fatigue.)
The mayor of Millwaukee had been skeptical because his city is working class, “where people get their hands dirty for a living,” but then realized that investments in upgrading and weatherizing old homes would increase property values and save people money on heating.
Oakland CA now has a Green Jobs Corp that trains low income people how to install solar, make biofuel, things like that. Real jobs, in other words.
Imagine what could be accomplished if the entire country (or world) started working together on this.