Why Climate Change Isn't the Best Motivator for the Unemployed

by Aman Singh Das | December 09, 2010

  • My Vault

Interesting interview today in Fortune with banker and philanthropist Tom Steyer, in which he talks about why only business leaders can drive a global shift to green energy—and sustainability.

Now why is a shift to a green economy important? Because it is the only way we can continue to sustain our world population, say scientists. Also, because green jobs—including green consulting, the renewable energy sector, and green investments—are predicted to grow exponentially in the next five years.

Why is Tom Steyer worth listening to? Because he is a renowned banker, an influential businessman, and a vocal environmentalist—he founded Stanford's TomKat Center for Sustainability Energy, and the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford's Law School and Graduate School of Business. He also understands the dynamics of discussing climate change with an America that continues to struggle with 9.8 percent unemployment.

Steyer's response then to why climate change isn't exactly the best motivator for people was spot on:

"If you're struggling to make your mortgage payment and you've got three kids between the ages of 12 and 18, and you and your spouse works, and someone says, 'Oh by the way the world's ending,' it's like, please. You don't need to tell me that.

The thing is to go say is that we have things to do that are good for you that are also good for all of us.

Americans can take on huge projects. But they need to understand why they should take on a huge project. The biggest thing we're fighting here is inertia, it's not evil."

And on why moving to renewable energy is inevitable:

"We can lead, we can do a good job, we can apply our brains to it, or we can lose our technological edge and let it be jammed down our throat."

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Tom Steyer's complete interview with Fortune: The Jolly Green Banker

Booz Allen Predicts 7.9 Million New Green Jobs: What's the Catch?

New York Times: How China has Changed Climate Change into a Four-Letter Word: JOBS

Filed Under: CSR

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