Counter-Point: 4 Reasons Why Recession is BAD for the Environment


As a counter-point to Lloyd's tongue-in-cheek post about 10 Ways the Recession Can Help the Environment, here are some eco-reasons why we should wish a speedy recovery (we won't get into non-green reasons here): Firstly, when squeezed, companies will reduce their investments into research & development and green programs. These are usually not short-term profit centers, so that is what's axed first. Some progress has been made in the past few years, it would be sad to lose ground now.Secondly, average people, when money is tight, will look for less expensive products (duh). Right now, that usually means that greener products won't make it. Maybe someday if we start taxing "bads" instead of "goods" (pollution, carbon, toxins instead of labor, income, capital gains) the least expensive products will also be the greenest, but right now that's not the case.

Thirdly, there's less money going into the stock markets and bank loans are harder to get, which means that many small firms and startups working on the breakthrough green technologies of tomorrow can have trouble getting funds or can even go bankrupt, especially if their clients or backers decide to make cuts.

Fourthly, during economic crises, voters want the government to appear to be doing something about the economy (even if it's government that screwed things up in the first place). They'll accept all kinds of measures and laws, including those that aren't good for the environment. Massive corn subsidies anyone? Don't even think about progress on global warming...

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