According to a recent article by the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration will use its authority through the Environmental Protection Agency to require states to lower the amount of carbon dioxide gases that are released from power plants. Depending on how well the inevitable legal challenges are dealt with, the changes could go into effect as early as 2016. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is already attacking the plan on economic grounds, saying that this type of drastic reduction will lead to billions of dollars lost each year in economic activity and scores of jobs disappearing.
That may be so. But just as important to discuss is all of the ways in which our current methods of economic accounting do not take into consideration the major destructive results of pumping so many unchecked greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Tom Zeller Jr. makes the case that these new requirements should be seen as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
Until we seriously address the underlying issues behind climate change -greenhouse gas emissions from human activity chief among them- then we will keep blindly moving towards a future that might very well be filled with environmental problems that has the potential to dwarf any negative economic impact from smart, commonsense solutions and regulations.