A Week With Two Opposite Perspectives On The Climate’s Economic Impact

A Week With Two Opposite Perspectives On The Climate’s Economic Impact


What if….. the formulas used to determine the level of economic growth and funding for programs, both domestic and foreign actually included the condition of the environment and people? What if…relocation costs were covered for people who lost their jobs because robots replaced them, or due to devastating natural disasters that wiped out their neighborhood? What if….corporate profits were tied to the company’s sustainability metrics, instead of just to earnings?

These were some of the ambitious ideas presidential candidate Andrew Yang presented this week at the Climate Forum at Georgetown University and on MSNBC. I was disappointed to see that of the 12 candidates that participated, only one was a female, Marianne Williamson. I would have liked to hear Senators Kamala Harris’s and Elizabeth Warren’s too, but they didn’t present.

You would be forgiven if you feel a bit of climate whiplash this week, though, because it presented a stark example of the two parallel universes we in the U.S. find ourselves in when it comes to climate (among other issues Democrats are fighting for and talking about on the campaign trail).

On one hand, at the Climate Forum, 11 Democratic presidential candidates and one of Republican challenger to Trump for the most part gave in-depth answers to questions from Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi of MSNBC and a slew of college students around the country, including in the live Georgetown audience. (There were a few female questioners, but for a climate forum to be this highly male-dominated is both a black-eye for MSNBC and irresponsible. Women are at least equally, if not more, negatively affected by climate change and bring different ideas to the table, plus, addressing climate change and protecting the environment is one of women voters’ top priorities.)

At the Forum, the candidates presented their proposed solutions to reduce climate change and mitigate the damage, destruction and disruption that communities will face as hurricanes like Dorian, worsened by the impact of climate change plow through our land. It was empowering and increased my hope that the United States can and will get its act together to responsibly combat and prepare for climate change.

Andrew Yang presented bold and ambitious ideas born from his success as an entrepreneur and investor, and in business more broadly. One idea he suggested is restructuring the calculations for the GDP, gross domestic product – upon which our economic growth and so many investments in the U.S. and around the world is based – an idea I have been calling for over the past few years, because the current GDP does not factor in energy consumption, environmental impact or labor that is not paid in currency, which is usually done by women.

The Climate Strike is also this week, where thousands of students and employees alike are taking to the streets to demand action on climate change. Sixteen-year old Swedish climate activist took a zero-emission boat to the U.S. for the occasion and testified before Congress about the threat of climate change and its impact on her generation. Seventh Generation even ran a full-page ad in The Boston Globe announcing they were closing their offices so their employees could participate in the strike.

On the other hand, the Trump administration has been reversing the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, putting our water and air at risk, and lifting restrictions on oil companies and fuel standards, which risk increasing greenhouse gases, thereby making climate change worse.

So, you are forgiven if you feel rather confused about climate issues this week. 

I suspect, though, that if you or someone you know lives in Hurricane Dorian’s path, in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico or another area ravaged by the increasingly frequent and destructive natural disasters, you know which perspective you align with more closely.

and funding for programs, both domestic and foreign actually included the condition of the environment and people? What if…relocation costs were covered for people who lost their jobs because robots replaced them, or due to devastating natural disasters that wiped out their neigborhood? What if….corporate profits were tied to the company’s sustainability metrics, instead of just to earnings?

These were some of the ambitious ideas presidential candidate Andrew Yang presented this week at the Climate Forum at Georgetown University and on MSNBC. I was disappointed to see that of the 12 candidates that participated, only one was a female, Marianne Williamson.  I would have liked to hear Senators Kamala Harris’s and Elizabeth Warren’s too, but they didn’t present.

You would be forgiven if you feel a bit of climate whiplash this week, though, because it presented a stark example of the two parallel universes we in the U.S. find ourselves in when it comes to climate (among other issues Democrats are fighting for and talking about on the campaign trail).

On one hand, at the Climate Forum, 11 Democratic presidential candidates and one of Republican challenger to Trump for the most part gave in-depth answers to questions from Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi of MSNBC and a slew of college students around the country, including in the live Georgetown audience. (There were a few female questioners, but for a climate forum to be this highly male-dominated is both a black-eye for MSNBC and irresponsible. Women are at least equally, if not more, negatively affected by climate change and bring different ideas to the table, plus, addressing climate change and protecting the environment is one of women voters’ top priorities.)

At the Forum, the candidates presented their proposed solutions to reduce climate change and mitigate the damage, destruction and disruption that communities will face as hurricanes like Dorian, worsened by the impact of climate change plow through our land.  It was empowering and increased my hope that the United States can and will get its act together to responsibly combat and prepare for climate change.

Andrew Yang presented bold and ambitious ideas born from his success as an entrepreneur and investor, and in business more broadly. One idea he suggested is restructuring the calculations for the GDP, gross domestic product – upon  which our economic growth and so many investments in the U.S. and around the world is based – an idea I have been calling for over the past few years, because the current GDP does not factor in energy consumption, environmental impact or labor that is not paid in currency, which is usually done by women.

The Climate Strike is also this week, where thousands of students and employees alike are taking to the streets to demand action on climate change. Sixteen-year old Swedish climate activist took a zero-emission boat to the U.S. for the occasion and testified before Congress about the threat of climate change and its impact on her generation. Seventh Generation even ran a full-page ad in The Boston Globe announcing they were closing their offices so their employees could participate in the strike.

On the other hand, the Trump administration has been reversing the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, putting our water and air at risk, and lifting restrictions on oil companies and fuel standards, which risk increasing greenhouse gases, thereby making climate change worse.

So, you are forgiven if you feel rather confused about climate issues this week.  

I suspect, though, that if you or someone you know lives in Hurricane Dorian’s path, in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico or another area ravaged by the increasingly frequent and destructive natural disasters, you know which perspective you align with more closely.



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