Jim Barrett is Chief Economist at the Clean Economy Development Center. He has 13 years of experience working in the nexus of climate change, energy efficiency and economics and has written extensively on the role of efficiency in achieving environmental and economic goals. He was Executive Director of Redefining Progress, a public policy think tank dedicated to promoting a healthy environment, a strong economy, and social justice. Prior to joining Redefining Progress, he was an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, senior economist on the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee, and staff economist at the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives. Jim earned his B.A. in economics from Bucknell University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Connecticut.

Comments Off on Good News from the Gulf Coast

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting with dozens of leaders from all over the Gulf Coast who are working on some really innovative clean economy projects. I’m not one to get overly sentimental, but the commitment of these local leaders to rebuilding sustainable and economically diverse communities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and…

Tax breaks and other subsidies for oil companies have been getting a lot of attention lately, to the extent that cutting them has even made it into an actual Congressional proposal. The issue has been around forever, but I like to flatter myself by thinking that the Environmental Law Institute’s report on fossil subsidies that…

Comments Off on Curbing the Appetite for Oil in the Fried Food Capital of the World

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the promise of the clean economy and green collar jobs. Unfortunately, in many places, there has been a lot more talk and a lot less promise. I work for an organization that is focused on developing the clean economy one project at…

John Maynard Keynes, a giant in modern economic theory, famously wrote that “Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits…” This notion, laid out in his seminal book The General…

It’s an unfortunate fact that stress has a way of making people crazy. At the moment, rising oil prices are creating a lot of stress. One of the problems with our deep dependence on oil is that oil prices can (and do) swing wildly in relatively short periods of time. Between January 2007 and July…

Comments Off on Animal Farming for Energy Subsidies

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the problem of identifying energy subsidies. If you want to cut them, you have to know what they are first, and while it may seem obvious at times, it’s not always so clear what really is a subsidy and what isn’t. The discussion at least implicitly assumes that…

Two reports came out this week on climate change, neither of which drew much public notice outside the investing world. One, by Mercer consulting, managed to generate a little bit of news with its warning that climate change poses significant risks to investment portfolios over the next 20 years. I wouldn’t be at all surprised…

Despite my seriously mixed feelings about the State of the Union speeches, I tuned in to last week’s speech for the first time in several years. Like many, I was disappointed if not surprised that President Obama didn’t mention climate change even once. Climate policy is hard sell in a down economy. I hope Mother…

To those with more than a casual interest in politics, “Silly Season” is a common term used to indicate the time running up to an election when the logic of Capitol Hill, such as it is, gets crazier than usual. Votes are scheduled or canceled depending on how much they would help or hurt the…

My last post on David Owen’s piece in the New Yorker and on the Jevons effect stirred up some interesting questions and discussion that I want to follow up on here. My last one purposely avoided some of the more technical parts of the issue to keep it readable and under my word limit. I…