A recent study confirms what many activists have long been aware of: that economic greed is a major contributor to climate change.
According to a report conducted by the liberal think tank Institute for Policy Studies, there is a clear correlation between economic greed and climate change. The report details that dramatically rising CEO pay at fossil fuel companies is contributing to climate change because it gives the leaders of these corporations huge monetary incentives to increase their fossil fuel reserves at any cost.
It was concluded that in 2014, CEOs at the top 30 fossil fuel companies made, on average, 9% more than the S&P 500 CEO Average. As Wired shares, the report argues that these leaders have a personal motivation to invest in short-term gains over long-term transitions to renewable energy alternatives.
That’s not all: The salaries of these leaders have increased even as the coal industry has suffered. According to the author, this means that even when the market is shifting toward renewable energy, leaders aren’t “feeling the squeeze.”
Climate change is one of the most contentious political issues in the United Sates, with Americans more evenly split on the issue than they are on concerns of gun control or abortion. Despite countless studies identifying mankind’s outrageous use of fossil fuels to be a main contributor to climate change, there are those, unfortunately, that strive only to satiate their lust for money.
Something must be done to curb such thoughtless greed. At least validating the correlation between outrageous CEO pay and climate change will illuminate the issue.
According to Solomon Hsieng, an associate professor of public policy at University of California in Berkeley, it is critical to analyze the incentives of CEOs, as they directly impact whether they lead the company through a long-term or short-term lens. While Hsieng was not involved in the study, he feels more important than how these leaders are compensated is how secure they feel in their jobs.
“If CEO turnover is high, then they will likely try to earn all they can quickly and that will lead to decisions that have a more short-term view, rather than investing in the future. If CEOs feel more committed to their specific firm in the long run, then they have more of an incentive to make decisions that are good for the long-term trajectory of the company. They won’t just write those problems off as ‘the next guy’s problem.’”
With countries like Denmark generating incredible amounts of wind power and France mandating all new roofs to host solar panels, it is very clear that in the future, all cities will derive energy from renewable sources and work together to create a greener Earth.
When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.
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