Power corrupts and pollutes: Politics, Power, and Renewable energy

According to the third recent IPCC climate change report, the reluctance to switch to renewable was due to a lack of political will. Financial institutions have consistently failed to take concrete steps to disincentive fossil fuel production. Vested interests have been successful in their lobbying to delay the complete transition to renewable energy.

According to the report, authored by the world’s leading climate scientists, the technology and tools for decarbonization tools are at their most efficient and are cheaper than ever. The cost of solar energy has fallen by 85%, while the price of wind power has fallen by 50%. It simply isn’t true that we don’t have the resources to mitigate climate change.

If our greenhouse emissions don’t peak and start declining by 2025, we won’t be able to reach our climate goals, resulting in unprecedented climate disasters and extinction across the world. Politicians and businesses need to step up immediately and pledge to make measurable progress by cutting emissions. Widely available renewable energy sources and technologies need to be leveraged and scaled up. Spending large amounts of public money on nascent innovations and unorieven technologies do nothing but delay the switch to clean energy. We need to be wary of politicians and businesses who try to make the climate change problem about the lack of technology. Carbon capture and fission energy cannot be effective long-term solutions. Techno-fixes, preferred by industries, merely distract from policies that can lead to real change.

That is why scientific progress is not enough, according to the IPCC report. Political will, at this stage, might be even more important. All the tools we need to fight climate change are here. Sucne the costs of solar and wind energy are affordable enough to compete with oil and gas, all we need are the right policies and funding.

Transparent decision-making, progressive and large scale policies (even at the cost of temporary profits), and a do-or-die attitude are prerequisites for a world that is free from the threat to climate change. Investment in clean energy leads to lower energy bills; it can make money for both governments and investors. So the question shouldn’t be, “Is it feasible”, because it is. It should be, “Why have we made no progress, despite having the tools?”.

Sources:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/we-have-the-tools-to-save-the-planet-from-climate-change-politics-is-getting-in-the-way-new-ipcc-report-says

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/david-b-goldstein/covid-19-and-climate-change-creating-political-will

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