The current economy may be bad for individuals and companies, but it’s certainly good for Mother Earth in many ways. USA Today reports that:
The worldwide economic slowdown is having an unexpected positive impact in the fight against global warming: Emissions of carbon dioxide are falling, records collected by governments show.
Across the globe, a slowdown in manufacturing has resulted in lower CO2 emissions.
– Carbon dioxide from U.S. power plants fell roughly 3% from 2007 to 2008, according to preliminary data from the Environmental Protection Agency analyzed by the Environmental Integrity Project. That’s the biggest drop since 1995-1996, the first two consecutive years for which data are publicly available.
– Carbon dioxide from industrial facilities in 27 European nations in 2008 plummeted 6%, according to Point Carbon’s analysis of data published last week by the European Commission.
While this has meant a loss of jobs and hardship across the globe, it also means our fight against global warming has had an unexpected ally. It’s tempting to think that this is but a momentary reprieve, but in fact it has given world the leaders the opportunity to implement climate saving new technologies and encourage more planet friendly regulations.
In addition, the general consensus seems to be that our consumer culture over the last decade resulted in a massive amount of overproduction – which won’t be coming back anytime soon. (If you follow the sales trends in the automotive and housing industries you know that overproduction estimates range from 20-50%.)
Meanwhile as we struggle to get the economy moving again, certain bad-for-the-planet technologies are quietly migrating to the web. As more and more books, newspapers and magazines move online, more and more printing presses shut down. As more and more people work part time from home, a new trend of telecommuting has gained traction, resulting in fewer cars on the road.
Hard times may result in good times for our planet.
Photo credit: bethanyjbrady at Flickr under Creative Commons License