Despite the failure of world leaders at Copenhagen, there’s hope clean renewable energy Copenhagen as green investments soar to $200 billion in 2010
These days I can’t seem to think of Copenhagen without thinking of the game charades, which our artsy-fartsy group back in college used to play every weekend – no offense to our Danish friends. But the NatGeo video above showcasing Danish families generating their own electricity through windpower is quite inspiring. I think it shows that clean renewable energy (read: zero to low carbon footprint) is something that we all should work towards from the grassroots up, and that it’s futile to pin our hopes on politicians to legislate any meaningful climate measures.
Dashed Hopes in Copenhagen
Watch: Ian Fry, climate negotiator for Tuvalu, makes an impassioned plea for his country in Copenhagen
If you’re like my friend, Nena, who was exuberant and hopeful that the world leaders would listen to the poor countries who will be hit hard with the effects of climate change and would come to a meaningful accord in Copenhagen, I can relate to how frustrating and demoralizing Cop15 must be for you. Nena works with a fisheries and water resources research facility in Kuala Lumpur and she believed in hope in Copenhagen, crying a bucket while watching the climate negotiator from Tuvalu (a low-lying island nation in the Pacific that will likely be erased from the map by rising sea levels) making an impassioned plea to president Obama and the other world leaders to save his country. We all know what happened in Copenhagen and given the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s useless to dwell on rage and despair.
There is hope.
Soaring Green Investments
Bloomberg reports that investments on renewable energy will climb to $200 billion for the first time in 2010 – INDEPENDENT of results in Copenhagen. The International Energy Agency has stated that investments must reach $430 billion a year by 2020 to reach a 50 percent chance of keeping the increase in global temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of pre-industrial times, the Paris- based agency said, according to the report. If that is the goal, then the clean energy sector is on track.
The rapid growth in this sector is fueled by rising demands for renewable energy from the public and the growing number of clean and renewable energy regulations being enacted worldwide. Ernst & Young has reported that over 250 climate-change regulations have been enacted worldwide including 54 in the US. There is also the growing realization that a green economy would be self-paying, lucrative, and sustainable over the long-term.
The World Turning Green
On the ground level communities like those families in Denmark are gradually shifting to clean energy sources. It’s an unstoppable trend worldwide fueled by the growing awareness of how urgent the problem of climate change is.
In the United States, reports are now coming out practically everyday of communities, counties, and states developing some kind of clean energy project in their area. High school kids successfully brought windpower to Utah, Alaska is beginning to be energized by wind turbines, residents in Sonoma county in California are building rooftop solar panels at a fever pitch, and Oregon is developing the first wave power plant in the United States.
No Leadership Required
Given how such crucial legislation as health care reform dragged on for months of useless debate in Congress only for the Senate to come up with a watered-down bill in the end, I don’t believe the Obama administration can provide the leadership to deliver any meaningful climate change legislation. What would happen is that within the next 5 to 10 years, the US, which now lags behind China in renewable investments and countries like France and Japan in renewable energy technology, will be forced to enact a sweeping climate legislation by big business – no matter who’s in power at the White House.
If the rapid pace of investments pouring into the clean energy sector as reported by Bloomberg above is any indication, it shows that big business is now realizing how rich and promising a clean energy economy would be. For the US to be able to compete in this new arena, a national carbon ceiling will have to be decided soon. That decision will have to be reached not in the Oval office or the capitol, but in the corporate board room of some power company somewhere in the US.