As we noted in a sister article on Friday (“Climate Change Issues May Decide 2016 US Election”), NextGen Climate has come out with a thought-provoking white paper called “The Economic Case For Clean Energy.” Its context mirrors and supports the gist of remarks by Tom Steyer, president and 2013 founder of the group, that challenge American politicians to step up to the plate when it comes to climate change.
“In order to address climate change,” the report says, “we must find common-sense, economical solutions to reduce carbon pollution by building a clean energy economy.” It’s short (16 pages), sweet (24 respectable references), and to the point (8 very focused graphics).
“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Left unchecked, it will have devastating effects on our economy and national security. But by transitioning from outdated fossil fuels to modern clean energy technologies, we can prevent these disastrous consequences and build a stronger economy with more and better jobs. This transition is not only possible, it is already underway: renewable energy sources like wind and solar are increasingly competitive with fossil fuels on cost, and installed capacity is growing rapidly as businesses and consumers lead the way forward.”
Clean energy is outcompeting fossil fuels on cost, the report states.
Backing up this assertion and graphic, the authors point out that trends in steeply declining renewable prices are projected to continue far into the 21st century, with zero fuel costs. If government leaders move as quickly as possible to create a level playing field for all energy sources, they say, and if industry decisionmakers pursue investments with long-term profit models, the United States can be the global energy leader of the 21st century.
Second, it’s fact that US business and corporate leaders are now transitioning to clean energy. US companies, even those whose primary focus is not energy, are meeting more of their energy needs with greener sources. This is not necessarily because they want clean energy per se, but because it also makes good financial sense. According to Ceres and Calvert Investments, 60% of Fortune 100 and Global 100 firms have a renewable energy target, an emissions reduction target, or both.
Third, building a clean energy economy will strengthen our nation’s financial outlook. Here’s a chart says more than a thousand words:
US renewable energy investment in 2014 was less than half of China’s, at only $35.8 billion.
Finally, clean energy creates millions of jobs and drives more employment than fossil fuel power. Solar jobs, for example, are growing faster than the national average.
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