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Innovative Environmental Policy to Green America

10/6/2010 2:55:09 PM

Tags: green America, smarter capitalism, environmental policy, petition for a green recovery


windmills above trafficEspecially during these times of economic difficulties, plans to restructure the free market capitalist system have gained popularity. One idea, branded as “smarter capitalism,” implements financial incentives to take into account the costs of environmental and social damages. An accompanying Petition for a Green Recovery asks for signatures to tell Congress, “It’s Time to Get Smarter.” 

The main tenet of this plan to green America is based on true-cost pricing, which means that products come to the market with a price tag that not only reflects their immediate costs of processing but also their costs to the environment and society. These costs include damages caused by pollution, contribution to climate change, loss of biodiversity and so on. 

This true-cost pricing system would be implemented through true-cost pollution prevention (TCPP) taxes. These taxes would be applied at appropriate stages throughout the refining process to the manufacturers. The money collected from these taxes would be divided into two separate funds: 25 percent would be put into bank accounts of adult residents to help cover the initial higher costs of products and services, with the remaining 75 percent going to increase and subsidize the development of green jobs and green industries. This majority of the accrued funds would support this burgeoning job market by:

 “a) helping millions of unemployed and low to average income homeowners, renters, businesses and farmers pay for retrofitting their homes, businesses and farms with solar panels, wind turbines, better insulation, non-toxic carpets, etc. b) by helping train millions of unemployed to work in and start green business doing these retrofits as well as c) by helping them buy hybrid and/or electric cars, trucks, scooters, bicycles powered by these same solar panelsgreen jobs and wind turbines.”

This model of environmental policy, using a polluter pays incentive to enact changes across the free market system, has been tried with success in other countries. For example, this model of environmental economics led Germany to develop its Duales System Deutschland (DSD) and Green Dot waste removal system. A packing ordinance passed by the German government in 1990 made manufacturers responsible for the life cycle of their products, thus creating a financial incentive for a reduction of packaging created. It also had a side benefit of increasing the reuse and recycling of materials. Similar to the Petition for a Green Recovery, the funds accrued are collected and put into helping sustain the system and encourage other sustainable development projects. 

These forms of environmental legislation are an innovative potential answer to the current environmental issues we face as a nation. As arguments against the current cap and trade model for pollution reduction mount, adopting environmental incentives offers a road to increased environmental stewardship without leaving the burden on consumers. By including funds to train and employ workers in green jobs and technologies, the potential to see a green America looks promising. For more information, and to sign the petition, visit the Green Recovery website. 


Jennifer Kongs is the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. When she’s not working at the magazine, she’s likely working in her garden, on the local running trails or in her kitchen instead. You can find Jennifer on Twitter or .

Photos from Flickr/kevindooley and Flickr/Leonrw 

 



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Post a comment below.

 

Dana
1/28/2011 7:30:43 PM
Jennifer, you can't possibly be serious! Thirty years ago we started tightening the pollution screws on industry. As a result we exported our smog to other countries with less requirements to deal with -- along with industry and jobs. Your plan will guaranty the same process as well as make products totally unaffordable. For example: gasoline, if adjusted for environmental costs, would add $12 to each gallon above it's current price. If you want zero pollution and 100% unemployment, you got it.

Royce Vines
10/26/2010 6:12:21 AM
It is a contradiction that all those nasty coal fired power stations were "cleaned up" to the extent that all that is emitted from those belching stacks is Dihydrogen monoxide as vapour and CO2. If the solid particulates, NOx, SOx etc were NOT scrubbed from the emissions, there would be a natural cooling effect on the atmosphere ans surface. Naturally, if you reduce these pollutants, the H2O and CO2 levels are higher. Are they the cause of warming, only about 50% max. The climate is coming out of a mini-ice age so warming is to be expected. Whatever the cause, man cannot change the warming cycle, just as man cannot stop tghe next ice age. All this calling CO2 a pollutant is a fallicy as without CO2, everything on this planet dies. As for "Carbon Pollution", every living thing on ths planet is carbon based, so "Carbon Pollution" is wrong and very misleading. It is strange that all this talk about "global warming", "climate change" and "carbon Pollution" etc., really only came to the fore after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the USSR. The mention of "plans to restructure the free market capitalist system have gained popularity. One idea, branded as “smarter capitalism,” seems to indicate that the Communists took over the Greenies (Watermelons). I do not know why the greenies are any capitalism as capitalism enabled the free world to have a reasonable standard of living and allowed advancements in all humanitarian fields.










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