What is important is not what you think, but how you think. The Critical Thinking Club is devoted to presentations on controversial topics followed by group discussions to evaluate the quality of available information and help individual members to reach justified conclusions, and to avoid error. Critical Thinking Clubs meet monthly in St. Paul, Stillwater, Mankato and Minnetonka.
TOPIC: The Favorable Economics of Solving the Climate Challenge
Over the relevant time span of two or three decades, a rapid move away from fossil energy will be cheaper in absolute terms than doing nothing. Sticking with our legacy fossil energy system will cost more than switching rapidly to a renewable, electrified energy system, even setting aside economic damages from warming. As the cost of wind, solar, storage, and electric vehicles plunges, fossil energy falls behind.
The mainstream argument, almost ubiquitous, is that we must choose between a thriving economy, on one hand, and a vibrant, livable environment on the other. That is a false choice. A switch to carbon-free energy will save money and save the environment. Economics is no longer a barrier, and neither is technology. A renewable, electrified energy future, one without combustion of coal or oil or natural gas, is within reach. What are we waiting for?
Jay Coggins is a Distinguished University Teaching Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He has taught at Montana State University and the University of Wisconsin. Professor Coggins's research interests are primarily in environmental economics and environmental policy, especially related to air pollution and climate. He has published his work in several leading journals, including the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, where he was Associate Editor for four years.