Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Who is winning the race?
Right now, nations are racing towards the new low-carbon future.
Fossil fuels can only get more expensive because the cheapest reserves have already been tapped and new reserves are more expensive. When industrialised economies were developing, oil was the equivalent of $13 a barrel, but now countries must pay $120 to $130, according to Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency.
Another factor making fossil fuels more expensive is the increasing recognition of the damage caused by greenhouse gases and the impact of global warming. More countries are imposing carbon taxes/prices which will add to the cost of fossil fuels.
The race is on – 2011 was the first year that global investments in renewable energy surpassed investments in fossil fuels.
European countries are ahead in the race because they started running years ago, while others watched from the sidelines. Now more countries are also running hard.
Some runners have been slowed down by fossil fuel interests that have undermined public confidence in the science behind climate change. These countries are hobbled by their misinformed electorates.
Who are the winners? Anyone who is ahead of the pack will be a winner because they will avoid the worst impact of rising fossil fuel costs. Eventually, everyone will get there, but the laggards will pay a high price. Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, says that for every $1 that countries do not spend on cleaner fuel, they will have to spend $4.3 within the next two decades to make up for their reliance on fossil fuels.
Rich countries have a moral obligation to help poor countries keep up with the main pack.
Scott Mandia, a professor of meteorology at Suffolk County Community College in New York uses this analogy. He is the founder of The Climate Science Rapid Response Team and The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. He is a leading US voice in engaging the public, media and his students about the serious threat of climate change.
Source: Be Green
Bloomberg New Energy Finance produces a ranking of the Top 20 Green Banks which it bills as The Race for Clean Energy.