The economic downturn is denting the promise of many renewable energy industries. By most accounts, solar is in for a rough year, as is wind. Venture Capital firms are squeezed for cash, so less funding will be directed towards alternative energy start-ups this year. The plummeting price of gasoline is making hybrid and electric car purchases less attractive.
However, that doesn’t mean that the recession is bad for the environment–at least not in the short term.
Declining industrial output brought on by the global economic crash is cutting back on carbon emissions, which means cleaner air. There is a secondary effect to the carbon emission reduction. A flood of of carbon emission credits on the various global exchanges. The European market for trading carbon emissions has crashed and is now defeating its intended purpose. The price of a carbon credit now trades for $14, down from the $40 it cost last summer. With credit prices so low, few businesses feel the penalising sting of carbon emissions and they are no longer induced to cut back on their emissions.
In the long run, however, this doesn’t bode all that well. Fewer people purchasing hybrids, companies not caring about emissions, solar, wind, etc. all getting hammered today doesn’t spell out a promising future for the environment.
However, for today, step outside. Breathe deep and take a note of the slightly cleaner air. Feels good, doesn’t it?
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