While many people debate the existence of man-made climate change, others disagree on whether combatting it would wreck the economy.
It has long been argued that replacing "cheap, abundant, and affordable fossil fuels" with clean energy would, at least right now, devastate the American economy, as it would drive up electricity prices and eliminate jobs for many workers. But according to information published in The Desert Sun and USA Today, studies show that transitioning to clean energy would not be prohibitively expensive.
David Kreutzer, Ph.D., research fellow in energy economics and climate change at The Heritage Foundation, disagrees.
"I think the serious people, the economists that have looked at this, understand there is a cost to reducing carbon emissions, because CO2 is a necessary byproduct of their most affordable and reliable energy sources, which are the natural resources of coal, natural gas, and petroleum," Kreutzer tells OneNewsNow. "To take that choice away from people forces them to more expensive sources of energy."
Still, researchers at San Francisco-based Energy and Environmental Economics recently calculated how much it would cost for the United States to cut its carbon emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The same information was posted in The Desert Sun and USA Today. The researchers found that the costs would pencil out to $36 per month for the average household.
While many households would have to spend money up front on new technology — including rooftop solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and electric cars — they would recoup some of their investment because they would no longer be paying for home heating fuels or gasoline, researchers found.
Again, Kreutzer disagrees.
"It may be that we'll still have an economy at the end if we squeeze 80 percent of it out, but we'll be poorer," says Kreutzer.
He adds that energy-intensive industries like manufacturing will take a big hit.
"And what those authors didn't acknowledge, or at least not very well," the researcher concludes, "was that it will have almost no impact on the world temperatures anyway."