Summary of Greening the Global Economy

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and energy expert Robert Pollin makes a complex subject understandable in this discussion of the catastrophic losses humanity faces if it doesn’t confront the significant challenge of climate change. Pollin’s coherent narrative explores various aspects of this problem, starting with how human consumption of fossil fuels leads to greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. He counters claims that reducing emissions reduces economic growth and details a comprehensive plan to cut emissions that can generate prosperity and jobs. getAbstract recommends Pollin’s rational overview of this complex problem to investors, entrepreneurs, students, policy makers, and executives who work with long-term planning for profit or nonprofit organizations.

About the Author

Robert Pollin is a professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He consulted on energy policy for the US Department of Energy, the International Labor Organization, and other organizations.



The Climate-Change Challenge

Humanity risks terrible trauma and loss if it fails to confront the significant dilemma of climate change. Human consumption of fossil fuels leads to greenhouse gas emissions, so humanity must consume less. In 2012, the world emitted approximately 45 billion metric tons of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming and climate change. These consisted “mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2), along with smaller amounts of methane, nitrous oxide, and other gases.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that to maintain the “global average temperature “at 60.3°F, policymakers must ensure that greenhouse gas emissions fall 40% by 2035 and 80% by 2050. In 2012, approximately 80% of world energy supply came from consumption of fossil fuels: “oil, coal and natural gas.” If the global economy continues to use these practices, emissions will increase.

Scientists don’t agree on what would happen if the world failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. They broadly concur that the consequences could include heat waves and more turbulent weather. Global warming could cause “famine, disease, mass emigrations ...

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