CHEYENNE, Wyoming -- New research shows a rapid energy transition away from fossil fuels would save more than $5 trillion compared with continuing business as usual, and that is without accounting for the massive costs of more extreme weather events and pollution brought on by climate change.
Sam Butler-Sloss, research associate for Carbon Tracker, a U.K.-based think tank, said solutions to climate change have often been framed as burdensome and painful.
"We would argue the opposite is true," Butler-Sloss asserted. "The transition to renewable energy will be cheaper, and offer a far superior mode of producing and consuming energy, to the old and incumbent fossil-fuel energy system."
He pointed to data that projected switching to lower-cost renewable energy will lead to a technology revolution with enormous wealth-generating potential and energy security gains.
He added the costs for solar, wind, battery storage, and other critical components of a clean-energy economy will become exponentially cheaper as technology continues to advance.
Climate change helped kick-start innovation in clean energy, and Butler-Sloss pointed out financial realities make an energy revolution all but inevitable, with or without government action.
He noted leadership in the new energy economy also will result in geopolitical power. As the U.S. wakes up to the reality of falling behind China, Butler-Sloss emphasized the race for dominance is likely to drive the expansion of renewable technologies into all parts of the globe.
"China is being very decisive in deciding that it wants to be a leader in this new energy economy," Butler-Sloss observed. "If the U.S. cares about its place in the world, it is important they act more decisively on the energy technologies of the future."
As the costs of renewables continue to decline, researchers say the 80% of people on the planet currently relying on imported fossil fuels will embrace the new technologies.
Butler-Sloss added even as prices have rebounded, financial markets continue to turn away from coal, oil, and gas, while stock prices for renewables doubled in the last two years.
Source: Wyoming News Service