Regardless of what President-elect Donald Trump might have declared on the campaign trail, President Barack Obama is certain that the momentum around clean energy initiatives is too great to be slowed down.
In a paper penned for Science Magazine, Obama gave his thoughts on the future of clean energy. He gave four main points as to why he believes clean energy will be the future. First, he pointed to the economic benefits and growth that comes from fighting greenhouse gasses. He states that warming of four degrees Celsius could “lead to lost U.S. federal revenue of roughly $340 billion to $690 billion annually.” And, of course, a catastrophic natural disaster tends to not be good for economies either.
Second, Obama points to businesses seeing the rewards of going green. Using energy saving measures have helped cut costs for businesses and consumers, and shareholders are taking notice. For example, Walmart wants to go 100 percent renewable in the coming years. But third, as more Americans are looking for energy alternatives, such as buying Teslas and Volts, the increased investment in renewables is pushing costs down. “The cost of electricity fell 41 percent for wind, 54 percent for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, and 64 percent for utility-scale PV,” Obama wrote.
Last, and most important, the Paris Agreement has lit a fire underneath countries to really pursue clean energy with laser focus. For a while, it seemed that only affluent western countries would be leading the charge on greenhouse gas emissions, but China has recently taken a doggedly strong stance on improving and promoting clean energy. And with Trump approaching the Paris Agreement with a bit of apprehension, Obama warns that it’s in U.S. interests to stay. “It would undermine our economic interests to walk away from the opportunity to hold countries representing two-thirds of global emissions — including China, India, Mexico, European Union members, and others — accountable,” Obama wrote.