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As world leaders meet this week in Paris for the UN Climate Summit, organizers like our friends at Avaaz are keeping up the pressure for a global commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050. While this goal might sound pretty heady, scientists are already proving that it’s totally possible with our current level of technology.
Doing the Right Thing Will Pay For Itself
Greenpeace recently issued a major report finding that it’s also affordable. The cost of a transition is nothing to sneeze at, around $1 trillion each year until 2050. But the crazy part is that we’d already be spending around $1.07 trillion a year on fossil fuels— if we stop paying to put greenhouse gasses into the air, we’ve got more than enough to fund the switch to renewables.
Going Renewable Will Create More Than Just Energy
The renewable revolution is already on its way: the cost of wind and solar is on par or cheaper than grid electricity in lots of places in the world, and new renewable generation capacity is overtaking new fossil fuel generation capacity. Greenpeace estimates that by 2030, we can expect to see around two thirds of the world’s electricity coming from renewables— taking CO2 emissions down to 20 gigatons a year from the current 30 gigatons a year. The mammoth 364-page report, created in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre, adds job creation to the list of economic positives, with the future solar industry alone counting for more jobs than the coal industry today.
But We’ve Got to Keep Up the Pressure On Our Leaders
The path forward isn’t totally free of obstruction, and the fossil fuel industry continues to lobby against renewable energy interests. Meanwhile, businesses looking for reliable long-term policy on renewables are simply taking matters into their own hands by investing in on-site or off-site renewable generation capacity.
There are lots of signs pointing toward the benefits of investing in renewables, but we’ve got to keep the pressure on world leaders to follow through with policy supporting 100% renewable by 2050. Add your name to the Avaaz petition, and let your own country know where you stand on cleaning up the future.
But when it comes to stepping up and making sure our future isn’t dependent on more negotiations and summits, we’re missing the longer view. The good news is we have a solution right now, and people around the world are advocating for it— going 100% renewable by 2050 is possible, and now we know it’s affordable, too. So if you’re tired of world leaders not exactly acting like adults, sign the Avaaz petition, and keep the pressure on for 100% renewable by 2050.
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