We Need to Believe in Change!

I think one of the hardest ideas to comprehend about climate change to is that we can reverse or reduce the damage humanity has already done to Earth. This doubt might prevent someone from taking action. Everyone says, “how is one person not recycling going to make a difference”, just as an example. Especially right now with many of the 2016 presidential campaign politicians still rejecting climate change as a fact. It seems like only one of the candidates is motivated to do something about climate change – maybe two but I am not sure if I trust what that individual has to say.

To understand if change can happen you can’t focus on what is happening politically. As we know there are many sources of greenhouse gases. All need to decrease significantly in order for modern society to live sustainably, but I want to focus on energy. This is the largest source of carbon into the atmosphere and the oceans. Finally, change is happening in this industry!

In 2000 the IEA Global Wind Council projected that wind power would account for 30 Gigawatts by 2010. By 2015, the amount of energy produced by wind turbine was 14.5x the projected amount. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association solar companies will add 16 gigawatts of panels in the U.S. in 2016. This is over double of what was installed last year (Ryan 2016). The triggers for the increase of solar installation were the price plunging by 67% since 2010 and a 30% tax credit that makes solar even more affordable. The price of solar has dropped so much that it is getting closer to cross the grid parity line, which is when the cost of renewable energy is less than the cost of fossil fuel. Once it crosses this line the incentive to invest in solar will be exponential.

The investment in renewable energy is happening around the world as well. 81% percent of the energy Germany uses comes from renewable sources. Many underdeveloped nations have been increasing the installation of solar panels (Sawin 2015). The Sustainable Energy for All is an international initiative with the goals of ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

There is hope that we can get away from our reliance on fossil fuels. For a long time scientists have been working to increase the public’s understanding of what climate change is and how it works (for example, on TV news and science shows). Now that the global majority understand this, the next step is getting people to believe they should invest in a sustainable future. The most successful companies in the world tell the consumers why they believe in their product. Its not about what their product is or how it works. The climate change movement should start to send the message of why we believe renewable energy and other sustainable environmental practices will create a better future for society.

References:

Ryan, Joe. “U.S. Solar Growth Will More Than Double in 2016, Study Finds.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 9 Mar. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

Sawin, Janet L. RENEWABLES 2015 (n.d.): n. pag. http://www.ren21.net/. Renewable Energy Policy Network, 9 Apr. 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

http://www.se4all.org/our-vision_our-objectives_renewable-energy

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2 thoughts on “We Need to Believe in Change!

  1. It’s good to hear how much solar and wind energy has increased throughout the years. The fact that there is a rise in renewable energy and it is becoming more affordable is such a positive thing. This news does in fact make me more hopeful for our future. I like how Germany, uses 81% of renewable energy. That’s a lot of renewable energy and if more countries are following Germany’s path then that’s great. The more countries that increase there renewable energy resources the more people will be informed and invest in it.

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  2. You’re definitely right that believing we can make a difference in the face of climate change is a huge hurdle many of us have not yet leapt over. The Bill McKibben article we read a couple weeks ago is an example of the lack of faith in change so prevalent within this movement, and I think you make a great point that we’ll be more successful if we believe we can be.

    Renewable energy may be the way of the future, but its application still has so many pitfalls. In the West, solar and wind farms are often developed at an industrial scale, destroying vast swathes of landscape. Even in New England, wind turbines are often installed by out-of-state companies looking to profit at the expense of the scenic views and ecological health of small rural communities. If we’re truly going to embrace renewable energy, I think we need to invest more in following the distributed generation/community solar model employed in Germany: panels on rooftops, shading parking lots and gardens, built into existing infrastructure and creating power in the same place where it will be used. Our archaic, centralized power grid is a huge handicap to us in making this switch. Perhaps rather than developing more renewable energy facilities, we should focus on changing the way we generate and distribute power.

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