Utne Blogs > Environment

What the Bailout Means for the Environment

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: Environment, politics, economics, green living, alternative energy, environmental legislation, Barack Obama, Gristmill, EcoGeek, Triple Pundit,

bear bailoutWorld economic prospects were looking dire even before Monday’s bailout bill failed to pass Congress, sending stock markets plummeting and nearly everyone into a panic. A “more palatable” version of the bailout bill might eventually be approved, but it’s safe to say that things are going to get worse before they get better, and no one’s quite sure of the long-term effects of our economic crisis.

Eco blogs are beginning to speculate and offer commentary about the situation’s impact on environmental politics, and Gristmill is leading the analysis. Joseph Romm debunks the suggestion that Barack Obama would put funds for the bailout bill ahead of his clean energy plan. David Roberts explains how more energy efficient homes would raise housing stock while lowering the cost of utilities—the unstable housing market being the catalyst, of course, for the current financial crisis. And Kate Shepherd hopes the bailout won’t push Congress’ renewable energy tax-credit bill off the table.

But EcoGeek Hank Green laments that the bailout legislation has already killed carefully crafted solar legislation. “These people simply do not understand. The bailout is about preventing disaster,” Green writes. “But what about planning for an America that can see beyond damage control to growth and prosperity?”

A more optimistic—if long-term—outlook comes from Angelique van Engelen at Triple Pundit, who predicts that the next bull market, when and if it arrives, will be heavily influenced by green investing. “Admittedly, it's a bit obscene to talk of a new bull market now that Wall Street is heavily sick and in need of a trillion-dollar bailout,” she writes. “But perhaps it makes sense to do it anyway because it's very likely that the next bull's going to be colored brightly green.”

Image by Shiny Things, licensed by Creative Commons.