From: Boyd Cohen, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published August 9, 2011 08:11 AM

Why the U.S. Debt Crisis is just the Tip of the Melting Iceberg

As many of this column's readers know, I am from the U.S. and have lived in Europe and most recently Canada for the 10 years since getting my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado. While I am no economist (my Ph.D. is in business), I believe that the recent U.S. debt crisis and the complete and utter failure of our politicians from the President on down to find common ground is just the tip of a melting iceberg for the U.S. economy.


The U.S. is in debt which is going to continue to climb faster than the rising sea levels. Exacerbating the problem of course is that recent antics in the White House and Congress have left the world's markets questioning the ability for the U.S. to actually reach agreement on anything let alone lead the world out of this recession. If the recent downgrading of U.S. credit worthiness leads to a 1% increase in the cost of borrowing, it would grow the U.S. debt $1.3 trillion over 10 years.

However I am even more concerned about the long-term prospects for the U.S. economy. The U.S. is way behind Europe, Brazil and China in making strategic investments in a low-carbon, clean economy. And worse still, the U.S. was built on the assumption of infinite and low-cost fossil fuels.

It is virtually impossible to argue against the role of green and low-carbon sectors in contributing to economic and job growth in the future. That is of course a core argument in my book with Hunter Lovins called Climate Capitalism wherein we illustrate how cities, countries and companies can profit from the transition to the low carbon economy across many key sectors of the economy such as energy, buildings, transportation and agriculture.

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