Obama Argues US Clean Energy Trend is “Irreversible”

Outgoing President offers 4 reasons green tech is here to stay. Will President Trump prove him wrong?

President Barack Obama speaking at Nellis Air Force Base in May 2009.

President Barack Obama speaking at Nellis Air Force Base in May 2009.

In a recent Policy Forum, President Obama conveyed his belief that “…trends towards a clean energy economy that have emerged during [my] presidency will continue.” The President outlined four reasons sustaining his confidence.

First, from 2008 to 2015, the economy grew by more than 10 percent while carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5 percent – a result that “should put to rest the argument that combatting climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living,” he wrote.

Second, the President stated that businesses are seeing firsthand how reducing emissions works to their benefit: boosting bottom lines, cutting costs for consumers, and delivering returns for shareholders. Obama also highlighted several American firms that have cut energy waste to save money and invest in other areas of their businesses.

The third reason for the President’s confidence in renewable energy comes from a changing American electric-power sector, one shifting from coal-focused production to that of natural gas, for example—in large part due to market forces. According to Obama, the dramatic drop in renewable electricity costs between 2008 and 2015 prompted moves like Google’s, which plans to power 100 percent of its operations using renewable energy in 2017.

Finally, Obama highlighted the global momentum in the clean energy space. At the Paris agreement in 2015, nations agreed that all countries should put forward smart climate policies. “It’s good business and good economics to lead a technological revolution and define market trends,” he concluded. “The latest science and economics provide a helpful guide for what the future may bring.”

For a more pessimistic view, check out Are Renewables Rising Fast Enough to Combat Climate Change?

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science