We are starting a new year, and there really is much to be hopeful for concerning taking action on climate change.
Public opinion polls are showing a big swing toward acceptance of climate change as a reality, with 90% of Americans now saying that the climate is changing, and a big majority saying we need to take action now. Renewable energy is becoming less expensive every year. The head of NextEra Energy, the biggest and most successful utility in the United States, says the energy industry is in the grip of massive change, with the cost of renewables and battery storage – without subsidies – beating gas, as well as existing coal and nuclear on costs.
Many studies-including the Regional Economic Modeling Inc. study, the Resources for the Future study, the Columbia U. study, and most recently a study out of Georgia Tech, have all shown that a carbon fee and dividend plan can decrease greenhouse gases by up to 90% by 2050 while putting more money back into the average American’s pocket, even accounting for higher energy costs.
A recent study by Jacobson found that it would cost the US $7.8 trillion by 2050 to become 100% carbon free, but he found that, including social costs, it would save about 5-10 times that amount over the next 30 years. Many other studies have been done, all showing the benefits in monetary terms far outweighing the costs to convert to 100% renewable energy. In the US, using wind and solar to do this would take up just 1.08% of our land area, with 85% of that being the spacing between wind turbines. This space can be used as farmland at the same time.
So, for this coming new year, the time is right. Let the hope of change turn into action. We have all that we need to make this the year that we turn the tide on climate change. I for one believe that we are a nation that believes in doing the right thing when we have the proper information and that we will make the moral commitment to pass on a livable world to future generations.