The Bailout Failure's Environmental Impacts

Here's how the bailout's failure is affecting environmental legislation and green consumers.


Aside from sending the markets into a tailspin and lawmakers scrambling for other options on the Hill, the failure of the bailout package on Monday had consequences for environmental legislation and green-thinking consumers. Here's a roundup:

  • Upon news of the nonbailout, solar stocks plummeted. Distracted by the financial crisis, the House and the Senate can't reach an agreement on how to extend energy tax credits that are key to making solar panels more mainstream. Congress is unlikely to approve the measures before the session ends.
    • The bailout package failure also sent oil prices down, said the Wall Street Journal, because of "fears the U.S. economy is going headlong off a cliff—and is going to drag down Europe and Asia with it," said Keith Johnson.
      • Thomas Friedman's column argues that we should "green the bailout" by committing to building up an energy technology revolution and investing the bailout profits in green infrastructure.
        • With economic fears looming larger than ever on Main Street, green bloggers are promoting a simpler, greener life as a way to save money in tight times. Treehugger's Sara Snow urges us to cook at home (and eat our leftovers), give up pricey gym memberships for outdoor exercise, and swap for goods with our neighbors.
          • At the same time, the economic crisis has made consumers worldwide less likely to shell out for green products, says the Financial Times. However, the crisis could mean the end of greenwashing: "Brands that flaunt their green credentials in advertising, with no substance to back them up, will be even harder hit. The worse the downturn gets, the more the genuinely environmentally responsible companies will be sorted from those who never really got it."