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Climate Action: Economists Write Open Letter Protesting Pollution From Carbon, Fossil Fuels

by on August 5, 2020
 

To rebuild our world, we must end the carbon economy.

Letter from economists

Over a hundred economists from different parts of the United States have collaborated to sign a petition calling for the replacement of the use of Fossil fuels globally, targeting the Carbon and Oil and Gas industries.

The letter insists that Governments worldwide must actively phase out the fossil fuel industry.

“Bailouts and subsidies to big oil, gas and coal companies only further delay the essential energy transition, distorting markets while locking us into a future we cannot afford. Instead, a coordinated phaseout of exploration for and extraction of carbon resources allows governments to redeploy funds towards green technology, infrastructure, social programs and good jobs, spurring an economic transition that benefits people and the planet”, the Economists opined.

Some of the highly reputable signatories include Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz, Mariana Mazzucato, Clair Brown, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Robert Reich, Gabriel Zucman and others.

Read Full Letter Here:

The carbon economy amplifies racial, social and economic inequities, creating a system that is fundamentally incompatible with a stable future

From deep-rooted racism to the Covid-19 pandemic, from extreme inequality to ecological collapse, our world is facing dire and deeply interconnected emergencies. But as much as the present moment painfully underscores the weaknesses of our economic system, it also gives us the rare opportunity to reimagine it. As we seek to rebuild our world, we can and must end the carbon economy.

Even as climate breakdown looms around the corner, the pressure to return to the old carbon-based economy is real – and all the more dangerous, given the fundamental instability of an economy rooted in injustice. Sources of large-scale human suffering, such as crop failures, water shortages, rising tides, wildfires, severe weather, forced migration and pandemics, go hand-in-hand with a warming world. For example, exposure to airborne pollution heightens the risk of complications from diseases like Covid-19, and deforestation and rising temperatures make the emergence of future infectious diseases more likely. When these consequences manifest, it is no accident that they are disproportionately felt by communities of color, low-income communities, the most vulnerable nations and peoples, and other historically marginalized groups.

It is Black people in America, for instance, who bear some of the highest rates of exposure to polluted air. The carbon economy amplifies and begets racial, social and economic inequities, creating a system that is fundamentally incompatible with a stable future. If we fail to act now, the present moment may merely be a preview of what is to come, as we are forced into ever-more-painful situations and tradeoffs. It is naive, moreover, to imagine that we can simply nudge the fossil fuel industry – an industry that has lied about climate change for decades, actively opposed serious climate solutions and continues to plan for a fossil fuel-dependent future – into good behavior.

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This moment creates an opportunity to bring about a better future for ourselves and our children
Instead, we should recognize that the present moment creates an opportunity to bring about a better future for ourselves and our children. By taking on the carbon economy, we can begin charting a pathway towards economic recovery while building a fairer, more sustainable world in the process.

Governments must actively phase out the fossil fuel industry. Bailouts and subsidies to big oil, gas and coal companies only further delay the essential energy transition, distorting markets while locking us into a future we cannot afford. Instead, a coordinated phaseout of exploration for and extraction of carbon resources allows governments to redeploy funds towards green technology, infrastructure, social programs and good jobs, spurring an economic transition that benefits people and the planet.

Institutions of financial power must end their fossil fuel investments and funding. When our largest banks, most influential investors and most prestigious universities place bets on the success of the fossil fuel industry, they provide it with the economic and social capital necessary to maintain the dangerous status quo. Instead, these institutions should divest from fossil fuel companies and end financing of their continued operations while reinvesting those resources in a just and stable future.

People must build political power to advocate for a fairer economic system. If we attempt an economic rebuilding whose guiding principle is a return to “business as usual” we will simply substitute one crisis for another. Instead, we must recognize that when crises strike, the disaster amplifies along society’s fault lines, and that when we don’t prepare for disasters, the costs of inaction fall most heavily on the most vulnerable. A green recovery can and must uplift those who need it most, at home and around the world, creating a more resilient and regenerative society in the process.

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By achieving a large-scale economic transformation that dismantles the carbon economy and brings about a greener world, we have an opportunity to begin the process of economic recovery while working to undo the injustices at the heart of our modern system. As the undersigned experts in economics, we call on our policymakers to recognize the role that meaningful climate action has to play in rebuilding our world – to recognize that a healthy economy and society require a healthy planet.

See Signatories Here:

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University
  • Gabriel Zucman, University of California, Berkeley
  • Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dani Rodrik, Harvard University
  • Mariana Mazzucato, UCL
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University
  • Darrick Hamilton, The Ohio State University
  • Gernot Wagner, New York University
  • Erik Brynjolfsson, Stanford University
  • Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Ann Pettifor, Policy Research in Macroeconomics
  • Michael Ash, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, John Jay College – CUNY
  • Douglas Almond, Columbia University
  • Stephen A. Marglin, Harvard University
  • Clair Brown, University of California, Berkeley
  • Juliet Schor, Boston College
  • Jonathan Isham, Middlebury College
  • José-Antonio Espín-Sánchez, Yale University
  • Thomas Herndon, Loyola Marymount University
  • Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Georgetown University
  • Elliott Sclar, Columbia University
  • Monique Morrissey, Economic Policy Institute
  • Arthur MacEwan, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Henry M. Levin, Columbia University
  • David Barkin, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
  • Chris Tilly, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Deepankar Basu, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Thomas Michl, Colgate University
  • Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Herbert Gintis, Santa Fe Institute
  • Hans Despain, Nichols College
  • Peter H. Bent, Trinity College
  • Gautam Sethi, Bard College
  • Jeffrey Shrader, Columbia University
  • Margaret C. Levenstein, University of Michigan
  • Steven Hail, University of Adelaide
  • Raj Patel, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Steve Keen, UCL
  • Hendrik Van den Berg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • John Miller, Wheaton College
  • Amanda Novello, The Century Foundation
  • Mar Reguant, Northwestern University
  • Imraan Valodia, Wits University
  • Mary A. Taft, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti, Yale University
  • Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Bard College and Levy Economics Institute
  • Stephanie Kelton, Stony Brook University
  • Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
  • Brad DeLong, University of California, Berkeley
  • Kathy Zilch, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Sunanda Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Richard D. Wolff, The New School
  • Tim Jackson, University of Surrey
  • Gregor Semieniuk, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jason Hickel, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Fadhel Kaboub, Denison University and Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity
  • Anders Fremstad, Colorado State University
  • L. Randall Wray, Bard College and Levy Economics Institute
  • Nina Eichacker, University of Rhode Island
  • Larry Allen, Lamar University
  • Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University
  • Bogdan Prokopovych, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Ramaa Vasudevan, Colorado State University
  • Mark Paul, New College of Florida
  • Yeva Nersisyan, Franklin and Marshall College
  • Michael Carlos Best, Columbia University
  • Erik K. Olsen, University of Missouri Kansas City
  • Kimberly Oremus, University of Delaware
  • Tracy Mott, University of Denver
  • Eban Goodstein, Bard College
  • Eileen Appelbaum, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Mark Campanale, Carbon Tracker Initiative
  • Carol E. Heim, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Timothy Koechlin, Vassar College
  • William Mitchell, University of Newcastle
  • Akhil Rao, Middlebury College
  • Andrew Fieldhouse, Middlebury College
  • Peter Hans Matthews, Middlebury College
  • Richard Parker, Harvard University
  • Shouvik Chakraborty, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jay Hamilton, John Jay College – CUNY
  • Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Matthew Johnson, Duke University
  • Kate Raworth, Oxford University
  • Markus Wissen, Berlin School of Economics and Law
  • William Lazonick, The Academic-Industry Research Network
  • Bryan Snyder, Bentley University
  • Tilman Altenburg, German Development Institute
  • Yavuz Yaşar, University of Denver
  • Sarah Jacobson, Williams College
  • Mary C. King, Portland State University
  • Lawrence P. King, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Rob Larson, Tacoma Community College
  • Mark Witte, Northwestern University
  • Wendy Carlin, UCL
  • Geoff Schneider, Bucknell University
  • Thomas Masterson, Levy Economics Institute
  • Julia Cagé, Sciences Po Paris
  • Jacqueline Klopp, Columbia University
  • Howard Botwinick, SUNY Cortland
  • Stephen O’Connell, Swarthmore College
  • J. W. Mason, John Jay College – CUNY
  • Randy Albelda, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Michael Reich, University of California, Berkeley
  • John Womack, Harvard University
  • Ben Zipperer, Economic Policy Institute
  • Benjamin Wilson, SUNY Cortland
  • Justin A. Elardo, Portland Community College
  • Joan Hoffman, John Jay College – CUNY
  • Jack Willis, Columbia University
  • Robert A. Nakosteen, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • José Blanco, Universidad Autónoma de México
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Institutional affiliations for identification purposes only.

Source: The Guardian

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