While the stock market took another nosedive after news that--guess what?--we're in a recession, The New York Times last week published a story about how the slump may limit moves on clean energy.
According to the story:
- "From Italy to China, the threat to jobs, profits and government tax revenues posed by the financial crisis has cast doubt on commitments to cap emissions or phase out polluting factories."
- On the one hand, "government action could stimulate the economy and create new jobs in producing sustainable energy."
- But “European industry is saying we can’t deal with financial crisis and reduce emissions at the same time,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Heads of government have other things on their minds.”
- "In the short term, economic declines tend to reduce emissions, because industrial production slows down... But such reductions are inevitably temporary, rebounding when the economy picks up."
- "Against this, the current economic slump could have serious long-term environmental consequences, because it may reduce investment in greener production technologies without fundamentally changing the longer-term emissions picture. With so many renewable energy projects and programs in their nascent stages, their success is easily undercut by lack of credit or financing."
My question is this, if it turns out that, in a recession, if government and business can't do the job, can we, the citizens?
Photo courtesy of The New York Times/Reuters.