The Catch-22 of Solving Climate Change

In order to raise funds to improve public transit and deploy alternative fuel networks requires economic growth, which means more CO2 production.

Published: 17-Apr-2010

Everyone is watching California to see how we handle our mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And here in the golden state there is some serious head scratching going on as well: How are we going to comply with those laws?

In recent months some have suggested that, given the recession, we simply don't have enough money to worry about greenhouse gas. A group with major funding from Texas-based Valero Energy Corp. is gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to kill the regulations. But most Californians still support the laws.

In the Bay Area, the problem of paying for greenhouse gas reductions is balanced out by the problem of paying for sea-level rise. Yesterday at a conference in Oakland, the Bay Planning Coalition brought together business leaders to discuss this Scylla and Charybdis. If any of these business leaders really thought that we should abandon our greenhouse gas targets, I didn't hear them. Instead I heard one voice after another grappling with the details of how to make these changes. Instead of resisting greenhouse gas reforms, the refrain went something like this: Grow the economy so that it can pay for change.

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