I’m thankful we’re already on the way to a clean energy future, with more jobs, less expense than doing nothing, no new nukes, no coal at all, much less natural gas, no need for any new pipelines, better health, clean air and water, and profit. The COP meeting in Paris can do what it will, and we can still make a better world and profit by it. We’re already doing it, with solar and wind power, energy efficiency and conservation,
The Clean Energy Future: Protecting the Climate, Creating Jobs, Saving Money, by Frank Ackerman of Synapse for LNS and 350.org:
[M]eeting the IPCC targets will… create more jobs and save money.
This report, prepared by the Labor Network for Sustainability1 (LNS) and 350.org,2 with research conducted by a team led by economist Frank Ackerman of Synapse Energy Economics,3 lays out an aggressive strategy for energy efficiency and renewable energy that will:
- Transform the electric system, cutting coal-fired power in half by 2030 and eliminating it by 2050; building no new nuclear plants; and reducing the use of natural gas far below business-as-usual levels.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 86 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, in the sectors analyzed (which account for three-quarters of US GHG emissions).
- Save money — the cost of electricity, heating, and transportation under this plan is $78 billion less than current projections from now through 2050.
- Create new jobs — more than 500,000 per year over business as usual projections through 2050.
The plan does not depend on any new technical breakthroughs to realize these gains, only a continuation of current trends in energy efficiency and renewable energy costs.
This analysis by an economist is independent of and somewht more conservative the one by Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford and his researchers, which shows a path to 100% clean sun, wind, and water power by 2050. Both depend greatly on what’s already happening: solar power is already less expensive than any other power source, and is increasingly beating natural gas for new deployments. Nothing but wind power comes close. Add in transportation conversion, efficiency, and conservation through recycling and better agriculture, and you get more jobs, less costs, and reduced emisions through clean energy.
That won’t stop all sea level rise or ice melts, but it will slow them, and it will keep the planet within a habitable range of climate.
Even the worst politics can be overcome by the economic force of low wind costs and continually falling solar costs. Witness Georgia, by some measures the most corrupt state, now the fastest-growing U.S. solar market.
The sun is rising!