Georgia Tech Energy Policy Researcher Writes About ‘Green New Deal’ in ‘Scientific American’

<p>Marilyn Brown, Regents' Professor in the School of Public Policy and director of the Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory.</p>

Marilyn Brown, Regents' Professor in the School of Public Policy and director of the Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory.

By Michael Pearson

Georgia Institute of Technology Regents’ Professor Marilyn Brown has written an article for Scientific American analyzing the employment impact of the proposed “Green New Deal” climate change plan.

Brown’s analysis with School of Public Policy Ph.D. student Majid Ahmadi analysis, published Dec. 17 as the featured story on the publication’s website, finds that “it is possible to rapidly lower CO2 emissions, while expanding employment by an additional 35 million job-years over the next three decades.”

“I’m thrilled that we are able to bring a research-focused perspective on this issue to Scientific American’s monthly audience of 7 million online readers,” said Brown, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Lab at Georgia Tech. “Analyzing the impact of proposed climate change mitigation policies to help drive innovation and beneficial change is a core function of our work.”

The analysis by Brown and Ahmadi modeled an escalating $60 tax on each metric ton of CO2 emitted by the U.S. energy system as proposed in the U.S. Green Party’s “Green New Deal,” or GND. They also modeled a more modest $25 per-ton tax. Each scenario would reduce carbon emissions, the primary driver of climate change, while creating more jobs than would be generated should emissions remain on their current trajectory, according to the analysis. But the more modest $25 tax would create more jobs across the country than the $60 tax proposed by GND advocates, while still significantly reducing emissions, Brown and Ahmadi estimate.

While jobs would undoubtedly be lost in the energy supply sectors in either scenario, Brown and Ahmadi wrote in Scientific American, employment in clean-energy industries would more than make up for those losses.

Another proposal contained in the GND—tax rebates funded by revenues generated by carbon taxes—would offset higher utility bills for consumers resulting from the transition to less carbon-dependent energy sources, according to Brown and Ahmadi.

“By using the clean technologies that a GND carbon tax would promote, Americans do not have to travel less, freeze in the winter, take cold showers, or cut the output of their manufacturing plants to reduce U.S. carbon emissions,” Brown and Ahmadi wrote. “Our independent analysis, along with a growing body of research, suggests that a low-carbon economy would promote innovation, open up new markets, and produce an economy with more jobs—a greener economy worth investing in.”

The CEPL, which is located in the School of Public Policy, administers the Master of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management. Its researchers use a multidisciplinary quantitative approach to forecast the speed and market penetration of new and improved energy technologies and the ability of alternative policies to accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies and practices.

The School of Public Policy is a unit of Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

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Michael Pearson