ECONOMY

Will America Electrify its Economy?

Will the electrification of the U.S. economy be good for the environment and for business?  Some business leaders see widespread adoption of clean energy as not only good for the planet but also as a significant private sector investment opportunity.

According to From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy, the new report by the Risky Business Project, building a clean energy economy in the U.S. is technically and economically achievable and would create substantial new opportunities for business in this country.

In order to build a clean energy economy and achieve emission cuts needed to avoid the most economic impact from climate change, private sector clean energy investments are needed on the average of $320 billion annually through 2050. However, these investments could potentially yield an annual savings of up to $366 billion in spending on fossil fuels.

According to the report, the U.S. would also gain over 1 million new jobs by 2030, with the largest gains in the utilities, construction, and manufacturing sectors.

The bad news in terms of jobs numbers is a loss of 270,000 jobs in coal mining, oil, and gas by 2030.

“Coal is dying because cheaper and cleaner forms of energy are replacing it. This transition is both saving lives and saving us money, and the faster we can accelerate it, the better off our country will be,” says Michael Bloomberg, Co-Chair of the Risky Business Project.

The report calls for business leaders to develop plans for climate risk consideration in their decision-making, including calculating an internal price on carbon and analyzing company exposure to climate risk.

The report also emphasizes risk to U.S. competitiveness if businesses do not invest in clean technologies while there is global drive towards carbon emission reduction.  It outlines policy principles needed to transition to a clean energy economy, including elimination of government subsidies for activities increasing climate risk and providing incentives for innovation and the deployment of clean energy.

Risky Business Project Co-Chair Thomas Steyer says that the U.S. cannot afford inaction. “Moving to clean energy will help mitigate the worst negative impacts of climate change and create enormous opportunity for American businesses. Now, more than ever, business must lead this transition for the sake of our climate, our country, and our economic security.”

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