Paying for Tomorrow: Maintaining Our Quality of Life

Paying for Tomorrow: Maintaining Our Quality of Life
Michael Curley
Release Date

Our quality of life is heavily influenced by the quality of our environment. Whether we want to keep the beauty and quality that we have, or we want to change and clean up those areas of our environment that have been compromised, environmental quality is inextricably bound up with our sense of the quality of our lives. Yet, this comes with a cost.

We were relatively successful at tackling many of the environmental problems of the past. But we now face a new set of environmental challenges, and we have neither the financial nor the operational structures to deal with these situations. And so it is imperative that we adopt the most cost-effective solutions to the problems we face now and in the future.

Written for a general audience, Paying for Tomorrow: Maintaining Our Quality of Life explores and explains the various financial strategies that could be used to preserve the quality of our lives. Yes, we have to pay to reduce greenhouse gases, but we also have to pay for climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. Yes, we have to have safe drinking water plants and wastewater treatment plants, but we also need power to run them. Yes, we want to conserve energy and increase our use of renewables, but we also need to protect jobs. This book is about what we are going to have to pay for in order to maintain our quality of life in the foreseeable future. And it is about the strategies we must employ to make sure that we use the most cost-effective and least expensive strategies to pay for them.

About the Author

Michael Curley is a lawyer and entrepreneur who has spent the majority of his career in project finance and the last 25 years in energy and environmental finance. Since 2013, he has been a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute.

Book Reviews

Michael Curley urges us all to face the hard truth that, if you will the end, in this case a cleaner environment, you must will the means, specifically the necessity of paying for it. The good news is that Curley provides a roadmap on how to cost effectively achieve the goals of environmental protection and sustainability in ways that are both realistic and achievable. So in the end, his book is a very hopeful one.

—G. Tracy Mehan, III Former Assistant Administrator for Water at U.S. EPA, and Executive Director for Government Affairs, American Water Works Association

It is widely understood that the task of restoring and protecting the quality of the environment has become steadily more complex and more urgent. Over recent decades, governments at all levels have approached this task with a growing portfolio of programs and regulations. Yet, even a cursory examination of environmental policy would suggest that it is designed to address two distinct problems: what to do and, with much less attention, how to pay for it. These two problems are by no means separate. In fact, they are deeply interrelated. Michael Curley, in accessible but still eloquent prose, demonstrates the consequences of ignoring this relationship. He also shows the potential for novel financing methods to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of environmental management. Curley has spent his career advocating for creative approaches to environmental finance. In this book, he presents a broad picture of what is known about better financing methods, and what is possible. This is critically important information if we are to meet present and future environmental challenges at least cost, financed in a way that is effective, fair, and protective of jobs, other resources, and social values.

— John J. Boland, Ph.D., P.E. Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University

Michael Curley has always been one of the most creative and influential thinkers in the field of environmental finance. This book is a continuation, and perhaps a culmination, of Michael’s creative genius in this field. A must-read for anyone concerned with the future of our environment and how we are going to pay for the many initiatives that will be needed to maintain and improve it over future generations.

—Paul K. Marchetti, Ph.D. Former Executive Director, Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST)