By Alexander Wolfe | Staff Columnist
I’m signing up to take a biology class, and it’s not just because my best friend is a bio major and I want to understand her when she says mitochondria are more than the powerhouse of the cell. Rather than just taking astronomy or an easier natural science requirement, I’ve committed to gaining an elementary knowledge of how Earth works, because I know I’ll need it to get hired. If it’s acceptable to want a stable career by age 30, you have to have the skills that will be in demand by 2030 (11 years for all you math blasters out there). 2030 matters because it’s the year that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has deemed the point of no return for climate change.
All dramatics aside, a new report released by the IPCC asserts humans must decrease our emissions by 45% in 2010 terms by 2030 and achieve a net zero emissions status by 2050. Essentially, the Mueller Report won’t matter in 11 years because millions of people will have died or fallen into poverty via the impacts of the increasing global temperature. The culture surrounding climate change is due for a massive overhaul as corporations come to grips with the money they’ll need to spend on air-conditioning in these hotter, longer summers. The renewable energy sector generates about $228.3 billion in the U.S. as of 2018, and that will only increase as more and more people begin to listen to Al Gore and those communists at the U.N.
And like the actual communists, climate change doesn’t care about your philanthropy or that one time you biked to work. It will impact everyone and everything around you, with the downside of not intending to provide a minimum standard of living for the poorest among us.
We must be prepared to work in a world driven by the impacts of environmental destruction.
Let’s say you’re a business major who wants to follow the money. You won’t need to worry about climate change because you’re going to be an investment banker or a compliance officer focused on returns. That mentality may become a problem when investing in green energy startups becomes a largely profitable trading venture and, given the rise of the ethical investment industry, you find yourself working for a client who demands her return through investment in solar firms.
For you marketing majors out there, most advertising from Exxon and BP these days is focusing on their investment in renewables, so becoming familiar with the language of conservation and sustainability may be a necessary resume item. Humanities majors would do well to examine the impacts of climate change, as it affects everything from security to psychology.
Legally speaking, environmental law will only continue to grow in importance, as businesses will grapple with environmental regulations that forward-looking governments will continue to impose upon corporations. The market is waiting for an entrepreneur to make sustainable business practices profitable, and that niche is where the jobs will be.
If you’re planning on entering the world of analytics, you’ll need funding for your research, and as climate change begins to annoy billionaires more than the fires at historical landmarks, they’ll devote their excess income toward climate research instead. Side note: There’s already billions of dollars in climate research; look no further than the million granted to one of our own professors for sustainability experiments in South Africa.
Until Duquesne adds a sustainability class to the UCOR curriculum, we bear responsibility for this knowledge, if for no other reason, to ensure our future wages. The day is fast approaching when your knowledge of conservation and sustainable practices will be just as important to your job prospects as interpersonal communication, second-language-speaking capabilities or coding prowess, and we must be prepared to adapt to this changing climate of hiring.
In a future America where politicians are forced to accept scientific fact (most likely when we pay them to accept it), it’s not difficult to imagine corporations becoming climate-conscious. A well-funded green energy lobby could inspire bipartisan tax credits for businesses with net-zero emissions or households purchasing solar panels, electric cars and metal straws. Special discretionary spending may be allocated for renewable energy research, and the Pentagon could get serious about the national security threat posed by environmental degradation.
Even if you think climate change is a hoax, the industry surrounding that hoax is positioned to be one of the most lucrative sectors in the global economy, so why not learn about it to make money. For the rest of us who respect the hard work and scientific consensus of 99% of the world’s scientific community, it’s in our best interest to make the economics of climate change profitable.
I still believe in the power of a united American economy, and if that power is united in the premise of making money to benefit the planet, we can save ourselves from ourselves.