Is it possible for the United States to reduce the current level of carbon emissions without undue hardship to the economy?
The short answer is a resounding affirmative, according to numerous public and private sector studies of low-carbon technology, climate policy and the American economy. The truth is that each one of us can play a part; being part of the solution does not necessarily require sweeping legislation, corporate readjustment, nor doing without the conveniences we have learned to love.
Making a difference can be accomplished in simpler ways: A commitment to support development and implementation of sustainable energy sources is the first step. Renewable energy is here: Solar and wind farms exist, and the effectiveness of those energy sources is undisputed. Powerful storage batteries capable of capturing such energy are a reality, and growing numbers of consumers support the shift away from fossil fuels by “buying in” to the idea of community solar farms. Solar farms make renewable energy available to large numbers of consumers, help energy suppliers better manage demand, and save money, both for utility companies and for end users. It is, in many ways, a bright new world.
A new emphasis on privately-owned solar farms, supported by networks of subscribers who trade their “shares” of energy produced for a reduction in the cost of energy consumed have spurred a new enterprise and a paradigm shift for the entire nation. This kind of cooperative effort between end users and major energy providers is a model for the future, because the benefits accrue to everyone in the supply chain. There are no losers!
Despite these facts, many still wonder, “Will restricting carbon emissions damage the economy?” There is no doubt that a robust energy policy will help stimulate needed economic redevelopment and growth following the 2020 pandemic, and that is yet another reason to pursue innovative energy policies. Such policies will lead to new jobs, rebounding corporate health, a broader focus on environmental issues and, of course, reduced emissions.
The end goal is to supply the nation’s homes and businesses with clean stable energy, to ensure that electrical supply is sufficient to meet growing demand, and to build a grid that is not affected by the fluctuations and disruption that is sometimes experienced today.
There is much work to be done, and the challenge is great. Many different perspectives are in play. But there is also a solid foundation to build on. Consider the facts:
Wind and solar are emerging as worldwide leaders in renewable energy, and are the basis for confidence that carbon emission levels can be reduced and that climate change can be reversed.
The lasting result is a move away from reliance on carbon-emitting energy plants. Even as gas-fired plants make great strides toward cleaner power, and the number of coal-burning plants dwindles, the need for more reliable energy continues to grow. The truth is that we must plan for a future of renewable energy and build a delivery system to meet the ever-growing need.
It’s entirely possible, and we look forward to the new era of economic growth that we see ahead.