Defying Convention

Justin Guay, Sierra Club - India Program Officer

Catastrophic floods in Pakistan, a new Asian temperature record of 128 degrees, and record Russian temperatures that have caused stalwart climate skeptics to change their tune are just the latest visceral impacts of climate change.

flood Add to this the recent death of the US climate bill and it’s frightening to hear that according to Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations, we really have no idea where the clean energy revolution is headed.

However, in spite of our apparent inability to respond to climate change at a policy level and the conventional wisdom that predicts fossil fuels will dominate future energy supplies - according to the IEA 77%- a clean energy transition is taking place.

Take the 1500% increase in solar panel installations in the “sunny” United Kingdom, which is outpacing Spain’s “abysmal” increase of 730%. Or look at the recently released US wind power figures showing nearly 10 GW of installed power accounting for almost 40% of new US electricity capacity.

Even more impressive are the numbers from the recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on global low carbon investment. The report shows that in 2009 alone $90 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was directed towards renewables, recycling, and low-carbon technology manufacturing. All of this despite Bloomberg’s recently released study showing that global energy subsidies provide 12 times more support to fossil fuels than renewables.

What is particularly striking however, is that it more and more this transition is being lead by rapidly industrializing nations that according to conventional wisdom can simply not afford these technologies and must rely on harmful, outdated fossil fuels to achieve development.

These nations are demonstrating that not only is the clean energy revolution feasible, it represents a strategic positioning for tomorrow’s clean technology economy.

The real question is whether this transition will become the revolution it needs to be - whether it will occur quickly enough, and at the needed scale to avert the worst of the impacts many of which we are already experiencing. The answer relies on defying convention and embracing and pushing leaders to follow the path unfolding before us.

Forcing them to accept that is up to us.

This post appears courtesy of the Sierra Club India Environment blog.

Check out more on Celsias:

The Climate War

Developing Countries Call for Legally-Binding Carbon Targets

Follow us on Twitter!

 

Image: Courtesy of BBC.

 
Add a comment
  • to get your picture next to your comment (not a member yet?).
  • Posted on Aug. 9, 2010. Listed in:

    Pledge to do these related actions

    Turn off car engine when ideling more than 10 seconds., 61°

    The idea that it takes more gas to start a car than to leave it ...

    Good Food March 2012 - Call for Action, 11°

    GOOD FOOD MARCH 2012 http://www.goodfoodmarch.eu/home.html A citizen gathering on the future of food and farming ...

    Tell Washington: no new coal or nuclear plants, 56°

    Take action at http://tinyurl.com/alp453 The global climate crisis is the defining challenge of our generation. ...

    Follow these related projects

    YERT Your Environmental Road Trip

    Minneapolis, United States

    Featured Companies & Orgs