Broward News

UC Berkeley Study: Carbon Cap Good for Florida's Economy

If maps with red don't convince you global warming is bad, maybe money will do it.

It's trendy to go green these days. Fashionable to recycle, not waste water or litter, and help keep the planet what we like to call "inhabitable."

But a new study from the University of California at Berkeley looks at the economic impact of instituting a cap on commercial carbon emissions. The study, The Florida Economy and a Federal Carbon Cap: a Quantitative Analysis, used economic models to assess the growth of Florida's Gross State Product over 18 years. It finds that by 2025, "by even the most conservative estimates," Florida's GSP will grow from $809 billion to $1.5 trillion, and that applying carbon caps will stunt growth by no more than eight weeks over that entire time.

"The Florida economy could thrive under a carbon cap," said the study's lead author David Roland-Holst, Ph.D., via email. "A carbon cap will create a burst of technological creativity. By taking early action, Florida can capture these innovation benefits and establish technology standards for the rest of the country stimulating new business opportunities for Florida's economy."

After the jump, more from the professor on what could happen if Florida doesn't work for cleaner energy, and a counter perspective.

"The additional costs of damage from worsening global warming could be devastating for Florida's economy," said Roland-Holst. 

"The costs of reconstruction after stronger hurricanes, defensive coastal infrastructure, etc., would be a huge expense to the state. We deliberately omitted the costs of inaction to keep our analysis as conservative as possible, but if you look at the bigger picture, you see what a cost-effective strategy a carbon cap really is."

A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes looked at this issue, and they painted a much darker (albeit anecdotal) picture of the economics. 

And of course there's that other beacon of wise, liberal thought from Berkeley (sarcasm): Glenn Beck, who had a staffer intentionally break - then melo-dramatically scrub from the sidewalk - an energy-saving light bulb. You'll note that Beck doesn't necessarily espouse any particular views while making snarky, sarcastic remarks. For him, being a dick is much trendier than being green.

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Michael J. Mooney