According to a new report published by Morgan Stanley last month the United States will likely reach its targets under the Paris Climate Accords without the help of the current White House administration. The report suggests that by 2020 energy from renewable sources will be the cheapest form of commercial energy more-or-less worldwide. The report also predicts that a 26-28% decrease in the amount of carbon emissions produced from energy generating sources will occur by the same year.
The numbers reported by Morgan Stanley are similar for other developed nations around the world, such as Canada, Australia, and European nations. This data seems to support the idea that cutting carbon is not nearly as economically painful as traditionally thought.
This report accompanies many other recent announcements highlighting major renewable projects being undertaken in developing nations such as India and China. This inevitably begs the question as to whether or not the world’s two fastest modernizing, and most populous, nations will be able to skip the “carbon hump” that has been a staple of developing nations for the past century. If the price of renewable energy continues to outpace that of carbon-based energy in the near future it seems likely that, out of economic necessity these countries (expected to be the world two major carbon emitters in the coming decades) will miss out on the majority of their expected modernization emissions.
The ability of nations who agreed to the Paris Climate Accord to be able to easily meet their target goals with the use of cheap renewable energy means that future climate agreements can be even more ambitious. It certainly gives hope that the we are able to stay on track with a commitment to reducing carbon emissions globally.
Regardless of the current White House administration’s official stance on the importance and affects of climate change (highlighted by President Trump’s announcement of his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords) it appears that little can be done to stop the clean energy ball that is already rolling. It is clear that renewables, due to their increasing inexpensiveness, will be a necessity to maintaining economic viability in tomorrow’s markets, and for that sole reason countries around the world will continue to scramble for the latest and greatest clean energy technology.
While political action remains a major driver of climate initiatives it appears that the simple fact that clean, renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels is having a major effect on how quickly countries worldwide are shedding their traditional carbon-based energy systems.
Renewable energy technology is undeniably the future, how fast we, as a global community, are going to be able to cut carbon emissions has long been a bone of contention amongst economists and politicians alike. If reports such as this are to be believed we are well on our way to becoming a low-carbon society.
Brendan can be reached at:
Email: Bgsuch.env @ gmail.com