Making Economic Development and Job Creation Drivers of Serious Action on Climate Change and Environmental Protection

7 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2017

See all articles by John C. Dernbach

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Date Written: January 30, 2017

Abstract

One of the most longstanding narratives in environmental law and politics is the alleged necessity of choosing between development and environment. The narrative, based on conventional development, has a built-in zero-sum game — development or environment. A competing narrative, which has been slowly gaining supporters over several decades, is built on the idea of sustainable development — development and environment. The conflict between these narratives goes to the heart of the divide on environmental policy between the national Republican Party (which tends to embrace conventional development) and the national Democratic Party (which, without a lot of fanfare, has tended to embrace sustainable development). The recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency puts this conflict in stark perspective.

This essay, which is part of the ongoing work of the Environmental Law Collaborative, argues that the real choice is not between development and the environment. The real choice is between conventional development and sustainable development. It also argues that protecting the environment and avoiding the worst effects of climate change require use of the sustainable development framework to give a higher priority to economic development and job creation.

Keywords: zero sum game, sustainable development, climate change, environmental protection, Donald Trump

JEL Classification: K00, K19, K32, O1, O2

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Making Economic Development and Job Creation Drivers of Serious Action on Climate Change and Environmental Protection (January 30, 2017). Widener Law Commonwealth Research Paper No. 17-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2917391 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2917391

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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