There’s an emerging understanding that environmental regulation can be good for the economy. Retrograde policymakers who oppose regulation as a hindrance to business—such as many of those who prevented the US from joining the Kyoto Treaty—may have misunderstood the fundamentals of the problem.
In today’s issue of the Washington Post, Michael Northrop unleashes a barrage of evidence (subscription required) that, in dozens of instances, greenhouse gas reductions are actually boosting economic performance and corporate profits. Multinational corporations like IBM, DuPont, Kodak, Alcoa, Shell, and British Petroleum are reducing their emissions and saving a bundle through energy-efficiency.
Britain too, is aggressively trimming its carbon-dioxide emissions, as well as the "energy intensity" of its economy (the amount of energy needed to produce its GDP). British economists are forecasting big gains in national wealth, even while environmental impacts decline.
All this is good news, but it won’t be enough unless the US and other nations begin taking climate change seriously. As Northrop puts it:
Concerted action is unlikely to occur as long as administration officials and some members of Congress continue to use worn-out arguments against limiting carbon dioxide releases, even as hundreds of multinational corporations and smaller businesses are proving them wrong.