If you can’t measure it, how can you know if it’s growing? The green economy suffers from this problem. In the past few decades, and particularly in the past few years, the green economy has expanded tremendously. By how much exactly? Well, that depends on how you define this “green economy” and what data you include in its measurement. If we look at the number of megawatts of wind power capacity installed, or the number of solar panels shipped, or other indicators of sales and installations of renewable energy or energy efficient goods, we get a sense of the recent growth of the green economy. A recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance documents some of the growth of various energy industries, including natural gas, renewables, and efficiency.
This Friday, March 1, federal budget sequestration is set to take effect unless Congress intervenes to prevent it. At stake is about $85 billion, split between military and non-military federal budgets. In the past days and weeks we’ve seen a variety of articles about the impacts of these cuts, and earlier this week the White House released its estimates of the potential state-by-state impacts of the sequester.
Here I want to focus in particular on a few points that I feel are underrepresented in discussions of budget sequestration, most notably by those trying to protect defense spending from budget reductions. A recent article in The Hill focused on the impacts to the defense industry mentions a few of these points that are worth highlighting. (more…)
When you own a home or other building and make improvements to it, often that value is recaptured: the increase in your sale price more than makes up for the cost of the improvements. As a realtor once told me, as long as you don’t install an in-ground pool or put a granite countertop in a modest home, you’re likely to recoup your investment. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with energy efficiency.
Heidi Garrett-Peltier is Assistant Research Professor at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Heidi has conducted highly innovative empirical research on the economics of building a clean energy economy, initially within the United States and more recently over the global economy as well. Heidi has also been a longtime activist with the Center for Popular Economics and writes a regular column for Dollars & Sense.