Does the Economy Affect the Green Movement?

Does the Economy Affect the Green Movement?

Jen DeRose
Mar 27, 2009

U.S. gasoline consumption fell nearly 6% in 2008. As someone who doesn't drive a car, it's easy for me to think that gas prices should simply remain high if it encourages people to drive less, walk more, make less trips and better use of carpools. What do you think?

The March 30th issue of The New Yorker has an article by David Owen discussing how the economy affects the environment. A few weeks ago, delegates met to discuss the next step beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, and which originally outlined what have proved to be unmet goals for greenhouse gas reduction.

The author points out that countries which have most effectively met their targets are those whose economies have been the most affected. Russia, after the Soviet Union's collapse, is on track, but Canada, on the hand, has increased their emissions by 122% beyond their goal. The U.S. decrease in gas consumption was not because of a rise in a green movement, but because of a spike in oil prices.

One other tidbit: solar panels and wind turbines averaged only .5% of U.S energy consumption in 2007. The article is definitely worth a read here. What do you think?


illustration: Tom Bachtell/The New Yorker

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