The Destination Is 100 Percent Renewable Energy for All
When it comes to prosperity, humans seldom care about the environment. But our planet would not have it and there’s evidence at hand: the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998. The year 2014 keeps the highest mark now and it’s all but guaranteed already that 2015 will claim the infamous title.
Let’s be clear, both people and biodiversity already suffer the negative impacts of climate change, whether in the form of unexpected floods in our communities, stronger hurricanes, or changes on habitat for vegetation and wildlife.
So, when will we start to act? Why do we continue to obtain our energy from non-renewable, dirty sources that only make the problem bigger?
Our largest energy sources — namely fossil fuels — are taking us down on a path that will lead to a global temperature rise way above what our society and economy can bear. Just to exist, the most vulnerable countries can’t even take half of that. Then again, the current rise on temperature averages is already disrupting our lifestyles. This is the gloomy backdrop to the international climate talks in Paris.
The world’s leaders are meeting in the French capital precisely to agree on a plan that will hopefully keep global warming from further changing the climate and disrupting our lives. So, the big question is: What needs to be done to put us back on track?
First of all, we need them to agree on a just transition from oil, gas, hazardous coal, and dangerous nukes to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2050. Not only renewable energy prevents further pollution in the atmosphere, it is inherently safer, cheaper, and accessible to all. This path will provide cleaner air and water and keep temperature rises in the safe zone.
According to a recently published report from Greenpeace, 100% renewable energy for all is both achievable and cost-effective, given the right political decisions. There are signs showing a real momentum right now for stepping out of fossil fuels: The UK has just announced to close all coal-fired power plants by 2025. A new OECD deal would cut off financing for 85 percent of coal-fired plants. Shell has stopped its drilling for oil in the Arctic — and is pulling out of a tar sands project in Canada. And in October, President Obama took a historic decision by rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline, citing the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.