We have the privilege and honor of covering some really cool products, events, and people here on CleanTechnica, and that makes it really easy to get caught up in the hype. A new car, a faster charging system, a longer-range e-bike, an internet-connected indoor air quality monitor, yeah, ok, so we’re geeks, but we’re cool with that.
It is easy to get caught up in the products themselves and lose sight of why we do what we do, but the “why” really matters. We cover all these products, clean technologies, and people because they are helping transition the world to more sustainable modes of operation.
Electric cars eliminate tailpipe emissions, and when paired with clean, renewable electricity generation have the potential to significantly slash our individual carbon footprints. Rooftop solar systems allow homeowners to take control of the emissions stemming from home life. Wind turbines are increasingly responsible for the electricity generation for millions of homes around the world. These transitions are not small, they are not insignificant. Each and every one of them is worth celebrating and moves the world closer to a more sustainable future.
The transition has not been, is not today and will not be a peaceful one as new technologies disrupt trillion-dollar industries that employ millions of people around the world, forcing legacy systems, like the entire oil and gas industry, to be shutdown. The automotive industry it up against a similar wall as responsible humans around the world take action against the impending threat of catastrophic climate change.
The scale of the change we are faced with making is difficult to wrap your mind around. The world needs to rally around low-carbon technologies across industries. Trillions of dollars must be invested into new technologies if we are to have a shot at avoiding planetary warming that will severely limit humanity’s ability to survive on planet earth.
All is not lost. There is hope, and lots of it. It is one of the core beliefs we have here at CleanTechnica. There are numerous reasons to have hope, with the first and foremost reason being that we already have the solutions we need to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Even more exciting, many, if not most, of those technologies are already cost-competitive with the technologies they must displace.
Utility-scale solar plus storage is competitive with incumbent electricity generation technologies, even in regions of the world as unlikely as Massachusetts. The total cost of ownership of a Tesla Model 3 is comparable to the cost of the most popular combustion vehicles being sold today, and that’s only going to improve over time as battery costs continue to fall and volumes go up.
Incumbent industries are fighting against this surge of new, cleaner technologies with a flood of misinformation and fake news that repurposes the very same tactics used by the tobacco industry to lie to the public about its products. The only difference with the oil industry is that it is not only harming the individuals using its products, but rather, the entire planet. Burning hydrocarbons changes the planet. It has changed the planet and it will continue to do so as long as we continue pumping oil products up from under the surface of the earth and introducing more carbon into the air, into the surface carbon cycle.
These industries have convinced large swaths of the population of planet earth that there is no way humans could possible impact the weather. The global trends in CO2 increase could, in no way, correlate to the temperature increases the world is experiencing.
The data are very clear and these campaigns are clear attempts to smear the facts, to muddy the waters, and to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt where none exists. These are the front lines of the battle for our planet’s future, for the future of our species and life as we know it on planet earth.
In these uncertain times, messages that spread the hope that exists for the future and for the solutions that have the potential to carry humanity forward into the future are inspiring. They give us the fuel we need to keep pushing forward and to keep fighting for the future. The video below is focused on Elon Musk, but encapsulates his hope for a better, brighter future, and I hope that it helps inspire you to do one more thing, to take that next step.