Renewable Energy to save the world
One of the major stories of the 2015 Paris climate talks was the ‘one word that nearly killed the climate deal’. Only hours from the final vote it was discovered that in a draft agreement the word ‘should’ had been replaced with ‘shall’. This one word carried huge financial and legal obligations. Thankfully, when this accidental change had been amended and the deciding vote came late on Saturday 12 December, the accord was accepted with cheers and applause. The importance of this one word in the context of the monumental Agreement is not to be understated. In the same way, the importance of this Agreement cannot be underestimated with regards to the essential action that must be taken against climate change.
200 countries have now unanimously agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and the richest of these countries will now provide “climate finance” to help developing nations adapt to tackle the challenging consequences of climate change and switch from the polluting fossil fuels used in rapid industrialisation to sources of sustainable energy (including Renewables).
COP21 was also an event which allowed everyone, including the world’s most powerful individuals, to come together with a collective voice and speak about climate change. US President Barack Obama said “If we let the world keep warming as fast as it is and sea levels rising as fast as they are, and weather patterns keep shifting in more unexpected ways, then before long we are going to have to devote more and more and more of our economic and military resources not to growing opportunity for our people, but to adapting to the various consequences of a changing planet.” Vladimir Putin, the Russian President said that climate change “has become one of the gravest challenges humanity is facing.” Despite the differences between the US and Russia, the matter of climate change and the need for humanity to move forward into an era of cleaner energy use united the two countries, and, indeed, many others, during COP21.
2015 was a year of promise for the global Renewable Energy industry, with investments in the sector surging by 17%. Additionally, 2015 saw Costa Rica produce 99% of its electricity from renewable sources, showing the opportunity that nations have to adapt to new technologies for the sake of the planet. The Paris conference topped this year off with its historic agreement.
Looking forward, 2016 shows a lot of potential for the clean energy sector: Following the COP21 Conference, governments around the world will need to change their environmental policies to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement. Technology will continue to develop, and with increased interest and funding following a successful 2015, it should become, not just better and more efficient, but also cheaper, allowing far greater mass production of these innovative technologies. Finally, with the help of the international community, it is likely that developing nations across the world will enthusiastically take on the challenge of reducing their emissions through a range of clean energy solutions.