Unfortunately, the Trump administration is bowing to the old special-interest line that the United States must choose economic competitiveness over environmental protection even though history says otherwise.
During the EPA’s 46 years, the United States experienced record growth while curtailing pollution. For every dollar spent on lifesaving regulations, we’ve seen up to $9 in health benefits — a boon for economic welfare. Conventional air pollutants have been reduced by 70 percent, while our economy grew by about 250 percent. By 2008, the environmental technologies and services industry supported 1.7 million jobs and generated $300 billion in revenue. That year, the industry exported goods and services worth $44 billion, topping U.S. sectors like plastics and rubber products. During the Obama administration, we set a course with the auto industry to double fuel efficiency and prevent millions of tons of carbon pollution. Today, the industry is thriving.
Bullish environmental leadership and climate action are not costs; they’re investments.
An article in Foreign Policy points out that if we withdraw from the Paris accords, then we cede leadership in the new energy economy to China, with devastating economic effects for our nation. An excerpt:
The proven economic benefits of domestic action to advance clean energy, such as tax incentives for wind and solar energy, have supercharged our fast-growing clean-energy industry, added hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs, and promoted significant economic growth. Clean energy helped pave the way for the Obama administration to lower greenhouse gas emissions to 1994 levels, while managing to create 11.3 million jobs with 75 straight months of employment growth.
In short, the current administration doesn’t seem to get it. It argues that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to return to its “core mission,” as if carbon pollution doesn’t threaten public health and safety — never mind its impact on clean air and water.
And this point about the economic advantages of environmental regulation: