Senator Olympia J. Snowe
Solutions have taken a back seat to sound bites, when it is the merits of an argument and the worthiness of a cause that should determine the course of events in government. As a result, the nation and the world at large is missing countless opportunities both to clean up our environment and spur economic growth.
Saving Energy, Growing Jobs offers a compelling way forward, and demonstrates how environmental protection is not merely compatible with economic growth, but can also create business opportunities. A healthier environment can and must come from collaborative relationships among government, private industry, and the environmental movement. David Goldstein portrays how those relationships can be developed and how they can foster products that can constitute a legacy for the common good, leaving a minimal "footprint" on the world we leave to future generations.
The key to helping business thrive and nurturing a healthy environment is innovation, which has been the bedrock of this nation's growth since its inception.
This book argues that the government must actively promote innovation. The United States has a long-standing history of creativity and ingenuity, but when it comes to energy and the environment, we have not relinquished our dependency on foreign oil as the dominant energy source, nor have we been able to halt damaging changes in the earth’s climate. For the energy security of our nation, we must begin a new chapter for energy use in these threshold years of the 21st century. We require fresh sources for generating energy and new means for saving it, but we cannot achieve that goal without active governmental policies.
Innovation, as David Goldstein posits, does not appear automatically just because we have a market economy. Markets can fail in both simple and complex ways, and these failures stifle innovation while allowing unnecessary pollution, waste, and environmental damage to continue.
Businesses are especially impacted by our nation’s inefficient use of energy. Generally, the more energy a business requires, the less profitable the business. In order to grow our economy, we must not burden it with crippling energy costs. Part of the solution to avoiding that calamitous route lies in reducing energy use while increasing productivity.
Saving Energy, Growing Jobs describes how companies often do not identify and correct wasteful uses of energy and how good government can minimize or even eliminate failures that lead to a loss of competitiveness. This book suggests, contrary to accepted opinion, that better communication between business leaders and environmentalists can contribute to job creation and promising opportunities for small and large businesses while furthering environmental goals that will benefit us all.
Unfortunately, rigid theories and calcified preconceptions impede progress. David Goldstein conveys a more practical approach, encouraging business leaders, government officials, and environmentalists to adopt open approaches to issues without the hindrance of partisan bias. Focusing on real-world experience, the author leads us to conclude just how environmental protection can simultaneously enhance market forces and promote economic growth.
A particularly vital area of environmental and economic concern is the increasingly apparent need to limit human-induced climate change. Ongoing scientific peer-reviewed research overwhelmingly demonstrates that climate change is one of the watershed issues of the 21st century.
On Wednesday, February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change officially entered into force, with 141 countries and regional economic integration organizations depositing instruments of ratification, accessions, approvals or acceptances with the United Nations. Requiring mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 35 participating developed countries starting in 2008, the treaty represents the beginning of true international action on climate change.
With the aid of this book, we are learning that securing international cooperation is indispensable, as we cannot get to the heart of this global problem without the world's major economies communicating at the table. The United States and Australia have not ratified the Protocol, and major rapidly industrializing countries, such as China, India and Brazil, while signatories to Kyoto, are not required to make cuts for carbon dioxide. The causes of climate change are global and the atmosphere knows no political boundaries, so the challenge we face for the future of the planet must be met with all the countries of the world working together.
This is the main reason I agreed to Co-chair the International Climate Change Taskforce over the past two years. Our 2005 report, Meeting the Climate Challenge, recommends ways to involve the world’s largest economies in the effort, including the U.S. and major developing nations, focusing on creating new agreements to achieve the deployment of clean energy technologies, and a new global policy framework that is both inclusive and fair.
Our country, and much of the developing world, must recognize that continuous improvement in energy efficiency and new non-carbon-emitting sources of energy can and must be developed and launched in the marketplace. Moreover, competition will not only improve technologies, but will also make them more available to more nations.
Saving Energy, Growing Jobs challenges us to go beyond the myths of what businesses or environmentalists want—to discard the allure of the zero-sum game. Unquestionably, we all desire economic growth. We all want to protect our environment and minimize climate change. This book reminds us of the dire pitfalls of either-or propositions and instead suggests how we can approach these issues more effectively. Embracing a smarter sensibility toward policies, incentives, taxes, regulations, and building codes is a critical step forward. And the good news is, we already know how to achieve this end.
Consider California, New York and Massachusetts where these economies use dramatically less energy per capita than the United States as a whole. Business prospers while the environment improves—to borrow an iconic phrase from Humphrey Bogart ... that could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And this book moves us closer to fulfilling that aspiration by engendering a positive outlook. There should be no mistake, global warming as well as widely fluctuating crude oil prices are real, and serious. The world's excessive misuse of energy adversely impacts billions of people worldwide.
Intelligent choices are at our disposal—that is the theme of this book written with a fresh, accessible pragmatism. Saving Energy, Growing Jobs lays out pathways to achieve economic growth and create positive economic impacts. Best of all, it offers encouragement to our young scientists, engineers, environmentalists, and business people, suggesting that together we can generate economic growth and a cleaner environment through innovative, practical solutions.