Greening the Global Economy
In order to control climate change, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that greenhouse gas emissions will need to fall by about forty percent by 2030.
Achieving the target goals will be highly challenging. Yet in Greening the Global Economy, economist Robert Pollin shows that they are attainable through steady, large-scale investments—totaling about 1.5 percent of global GDP on an annual basis—in both energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources. Not only that: Pollin argues that with the right investments, these efforts will expand employment and drive economic growth.
Drawing on years of research, Pollin explores all aspects of the problem: how much energy will be needed in a range of industrialized and developing economies; what efficiency targets should be; and what kinds of industrial policy will maximize investment and support private and public partnerships in green growth so that a clean energy transformation can unfold without broad subsidies.
All too frequently, inaction on climate change is blamed on its potential harm to the economy. Pollin shows greening the economy is not only possible but necessary: global economic growth depends on it.
About the Author
Robert Pollin is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has served as a consultant on energy and the economy for a wide range of organizations and institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Program (UNIDO), and numerous nongovernmental organizations. He is author of Back to Full Employment (MIT Press), also in the Boston Review series, and Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.
“In clear and readable prose, Robert Pollin details how, contrary to the insidious claims of Big Oil, burning fossil fuels at current rates is bad for the economy, bad for the environment, and bad for the poor. Greening the Global Economy powerfully demonstrates that investing in efficiency and renewable energy generates a far better standard of living than the current alternative—abject and massive dependency on fossil fuel.”
—Jerry Brown, Governor of California
“Based on the best available evidence and economic analysis, Greening the Global Economy develops a workable investment scenario to reduce greenhouse gases and insure us against potential climate warming disasters while creating jobs and raising living standards. It shows that what stands in the way is not the basic economics but the machinations of fossil fuel firms who risk losing some of their trillions in assets. Humanity vs. Fossil Troglodytes. Which side are you on?”
—Richard Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics, Harvard University
“Greening the Global Economy by Robert Pollin provides a very clear discussion of a roadmap to carbon reduction that drastically reduces fossil fuel consumption by combining energy efficiency with an increased reliance on renewable energy sources. He makes the case that dramatic reductions do not require great economic hardship or personal discomfort. Many confusions and misapprehensions that have clouded debates over energy policy are convincingly set to rest. The book is an important contribution to our ongoing dialogue about the future of energy in the United States and in the world.”
—Mara Prentiss, author of Energy Revolution: The Physics and the Promise of Efficient Technology
“For a long time, critics have said that we have pitted economic development against climate change solutions. In this enlightening book, Robert Pollin proves that climate solutions deployed at scale are in fact the only way to pull developing countries out of poverty and put in place the twenty-first-century infrastructure the world badly needs.”
—Jigar Shah, cofounder of Generate Capital; founder and former CEO of SunEdison
“At last—a positive approach to dealing with climate change! Robert Pollin’s important new book is a must read, cutting through current debates with a positive agenda: it is possible to reduce carbon emissions by redirecting some investment to ‘clean energy’ in a way that expands employment opportunities and improves living standards, even in developing and low-income countries.”
—Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
“Greening the Global Economy provides a penetrating analysis of the challenge of global warming and a compelling plan to stabilize the environment while creating jobs and advancing social justice in the U.S. and other countries in the developed and developing worlds. As leaders of the global labor and environmental movements struggle to find common ground on these issues, and as governments marshal the will to finally address the dual challenges of climate change and just transition, they must engage the important work of Robert Pollin.”
—Ron Blackwell, former Chief Economist, UNITE and AFL-CIO