Ken Berlin: A global transition to a clean economy

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While the problems on our planet today seem too innumerable to list, the fact 
is a relatively simple solution can put us well on the path to solving nearly all of them: a global transition to a clean energy economy, writes president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project Ken Berlin.

When l speak to people around the world today, many see lots of reasons to be pessimistic. Wildfires and drought are raging across the western United States. Tropical storms are decimating coastal communities at an often unprecedented scale. Record heat waves are killing thousands in places from India to Russia. Species are going extinct faster than we have ever seen in the history of humankind.

But I am optimistic. There is good reason for hope.

While the problems on our planet today seem too innumerable to list, the fact is a relatively simple solution can put us well on the path to solving nearly all of them: a global transition to a clean energy economy.

I envision a future not too far from now in which homes, businesses and industries are powered by renewable energy instead of fossil fuel energy. Where investors make environmentally sound decisions not only because they care about having a habitable planet for our children, but also because those decisions make the best economic sense. Where economies around the world grow at record speeds while greenhouse gas emissions drop precipitously; where polluters pay for dumping carbon emissions into our atmosphere; where technologies that we already have today are deployed at scale, and fossil fuels go the way of the dinosaurs and become a relic of the past.

We’re on our way

The best part? It’s no pipe dream: the transition I’m describing is already underway, leading us toward cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy that benefits economies, creates jobs, and improves lives.

The market is driving part of this transition, as the cost of renewables – particularly wind and solar – falls rapidly. City, state and local governments are also a key contributor, as they pursue policies to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the sectors they command. The business community and civil society are also adding their voices to the call for change and helping to accelerate this transition.

Perhaps most important, even national governments – which have historically been slow to take up what they perceive as the political battle to fight climate change – are galvanising in the lead up to the COP21 climate negotiations at the end of the year, where we hope to see strong national commitments and a long- term goal of zero greenhouse emissions or 100 per cent renewables.

But we can – and must – do more. It is time for businesses, investors, organisations, leaders and citizens to come together with one voice and call for the change we want to see in the world. A brighter, cleaner and more prosperous future awaits.

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Photo credit: Greg Grimes from Flickr

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