The free market and the Paris Accord
October 19, 2017 by Denis Pombriant
Climate change has become a free market issue as business adapts to profit-making opportunities.
Beagle Research chief Denis Pombriant said today that the free market has become inextricably involved in the climate change debate with a decided interest in actions that will result in profits. The Paris climate accords are simply stating the obvious. “We’re seeing numerous inflection points that signal the free market will explore and exploit profit opportunities in clean energy and electric infrastructure,” he said. Indicators include the rise of jobs in new industries and other factors. For example,
- Currently there are twice as many jobs in renewables than in all of the coal industry by greater than 2 to 1 (BLS).
- Wind farm technician is one of the fastest growing job categories in the US according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Each year since 2012, the world has brought more power online from renewables than from fossil fuels.
- In 2016, the planet added 73 GW of new solar capacity and 56 GW of wind capacity.
- In 2016, China added 64 GW of clean power generation capacity, about four times the US contribution. The European Union added 21 GW and India 13 GW.
All of that new electricity generation will help power new electric vehicles (EV’s). Ford has announced a more than $4.5 billion program to develop EV’s and it plans to have 13 models in showrooms by the early part of the next decade. Also, GM has committed to deliver more than 20 new models with 2 coming within 18 months.
“This free market momentum represents a surge of effort to change the energy generation and consumption paradigm to address climate change issues,” Pombriant said. “As these floodgates open we begin to see that there’s no going back,” and he noted that an editorial in the New York Times, on September 18, 2017, quotes Chris Beam, head of Appalachian Power, West Virginia’s largest utility saying, “We’re not going to build any more coal plants; that’s not going to happen.” The same editorial quoted Lynn Good, the head of Duke Energy, America’s largest utility saying, “Our strategy will continue to be to drive carbon out of our business.”
“This free market movement will be more powerful than any government attempt to, for example, bring back coal,” Pombriant concluded.
Denis Pombriant is the author of “The Age of Sustainability,” a hopeful look at dealing with climate change, which is available on Amazon in soft cover and eBook formats. Pombriant writes frequently about technology, business, and economics. He is a graduate of The College of the Holy Cross. More information is available at http://agesustainability.com.
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