Environment vs The Economy – How the two might not be conflicting ideals
Most of us, including myself, believe that it is the environment that comes before everything else, however there are also many who believe that there are other things including economic progress which comes before the environment and today I intend to explore that other side.
According to a recent finding, government efforts to regulate environmental quality and achieve “sustainable development”, can have a negative impact on economic growth. There are many examples around the world where the country’s economic growth has been affected by environmental laws. It was found that American regulations on air and water had a total cost of about $320 billion and decreased its GDP by 5.8%.
Proponents of the view that economy comes before the environment suggest that rapid industrialization does not have to put pressure on the environment. Advances in science and technology have made industries much less polluting for example, efficient new steelworks use much raw materials, power and less water while producing lesser pollution than traditional factories. Nuclear generating plants can provide greater energy than coal while their contribution to global warming is far lesser. Alternative renewable types of energy such as solar, wind and hydro-power are also being explored with economic development.
Hence, with a strong economy supporting a country, it can take initiatives regarding the environment while it not the other way around. A good economy leads to a great financial growth of the nation, while a bad economy leads to a nation that is incapable and leads to the collapse of the nation. There are a few Mediterranean countries which have an excellent environment, but people there are having a difficult time finding jobs and the countries are in debt. If the world’s economy is not developed first, then the world may not have enough money to help the as economic growth enables people to reduce pollution and improve the environment, without trashing the standard of living. Hence they advocate that environmental protection is important but not more than economic growth.
The proponents of this view might be wrong or they might be correct but I still maintain my stand that both economic growth and environment protection are equally important and are two simultaneous processes and not sequential.