Source: Our new moon shot: Restore a healthy climate by 2070 by Peter Fiekowsky
I recently heard this essay at a regional conference of Citizens Climate Lobby(CCL). CCL is a citizen lead lobbying group whose sole purpose to persuade members of Congress to pass a consumer-friendly carbon tax that will speed the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.
Fiekowsky wrote this as a positive outlook of our future that we can achieve by taking decisive action to reduce the threat of climate change.
He starts by comparing the current situation with President Kennedy's speech in 1961 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Many American's thought it was complete folly at the time. However, we had a clear ambitous goal and deadline, and we rose to the occasion.
We can do the same thing with the climate. Stanford Prof. Mark Z. Jacobson wrote in 2009 that we could switch the world's energy from fossil fuels to renewables by 2045. Jacobson affirms that we can get 100% of global energy by using solar, wind, and hydropower.
Wind generation has been growing over 25% per year for the last six years. It provides 3% of our electricity now. If we maintain that growth rate, it will provide 50% by 2025. Solar provides 1% of our electrcity now, and it is growing over 50% a year. If we keep that pace, it will provide 50% of our electricity by 2025. Energy efficiency will provide at least 30% reduction in our requirements.
China is working hard to slash its fossil fuel consumption and severe air pollution. Since 2012, China has built more new wind capacity than coal and the New York Times reported China is expected to reduce it net coal imports to zero by 2015. India is now starting work on the world's largest solar panel — 4 gigawatts.
Fiekowsky promotes two policies that are critical to acheive our rapid transition to renewables:
First, a gradually increasing carbon tax, as recommended by almost all economists.
Second, promoting investment in clean energy. Fossil fuels still receive six times more subsidies than renewables.
Fiekowsky then ends with this call to action:
"Tell your children, President Obama and your representatives the legacy you want to leave: A healthy climate by 2070. That is our moonshot. There is room for small government fans and everyone else to contribute in this game."
Image Soure: www.nasa.gov