Making the Case for a Green Stimulus

alexbowengreenstimulusAlex Bowen, a Principal Research Fellow at The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of the London School of Economics, discusses An Outline of the Case for a ‘Green’ Stimulus, a report he co-authored with Lord Nicholas Stern, the man behind the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.   And in the ViewPoint, Donald Bartlett of the investigative journalism team Bartlett and Steele advances the idea of a Federal Reserve for health care.

President Obama signed a $787 billion dollar stimulus package into law this week –and many say it’s good news for the green industry. Obama declared it would “double the amount of renewable energy produced over the next three years” and help transform the way we use energy. That’s all to the good. But is it enough? Forty percent of the package is in the form of tax cuts, which most economists think are much worse at stimulating economic activity than spending. Mass transit supporters were discouraged by the small portion given over to light rail. (Although there was a last minute infusion for high speed rail.) Throwing a lot of money at roads and bridges instead of public transportation doesn’t exactly help the climate.

We’ve talked a lot on this show about how going green is good for the economy, too. But when the economy is in free fall, many argue the priority is a stimulus that is “timely and targeted”– and that means getting the political will behind quick passage with the sweetener of tax cuts and funds for “shovel ready” projects like repairing roads and bridges. But a new report says we can get the stimulus right and green. An outline of the case for a ‘green’ stimulus” is jointly out from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. They’re both connected to the London School of Economics. Sea Change Radio Co-Host Francesca Rheannon spoke with the report’s lead author, Alex Bowen.