As negotiations continue on the infrastructure package, climate action is frequently framed as being at odds with the economy, where taking any sort of effective action would come at a large cost. This could not be more wrong.

First are the long-term implications, as unaddressed climate change spells disaster for future jobs and way of life. These climate-related disasters have come with a price tag of almost $2 trillion since 1980, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a number that continues to climb.

Even in the present, however, many solutions present opportunities to grow jobs, innovate and stimulate the economy. A carbon fee and dividend structure is a perfect example of this. Endorsed by over 3,500 economists, it would increase international competitiveness, push forward innovation and provide rebates to citizens.

However, we can even go a step further, looking at CO2 as a resource rather than as refuse, through carbon capture and utilization. From enhancing agricultural soils, to neutralizing dangerous wastes, to even creating carbon-tech products, firms such as Microsoft and Strip have already invested millions into these technologies, seeing the value available, as well as consequences of inaction. Addressing the climate crisis is good business now, and will be critical for the economy of the future.

Luke Bartol

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