Reduce Carbon Emissions and Boost the Economy

| Wed Mar. 19, 2008 11:03 PM EDT

348546345_ed90e9d509_m.jpg Here's how. According to Yale's new interactive website, SeeForYourself, a national policy to cut CO2 by as much as 40 percent over the next 20 years could still result in increased economic growth. The study by Robert Repetto is a meta-analysis of 27 prior economic models and identifies seven key assumptions accounting for most of the differences in the model predictions.

The best part is SeeForYourself allows you to play forecaster and choose which assumptions you feel are most realistic. You can then view predictions based on your chosen assumptions. For instance, you get to rate assumptions such as: How likely is it that renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar energy, will be available at stable prices and will be able to compete with fossil fuels once fuel prices rise far enough? Or: How likely is it that climate change will result in economic damages to the United States if U.S. emissions are not reduced?

It's fun, informative, and designed to convince our more feebleminded policymakers how easy it is to do the right thing and prosper. Descriptions of the models can be found in Costs of Climate Protection: A Guide for the Perplexed, World Resources Institute.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the John Burroughs Medal Award. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

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