This past Monday, October 8th 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change released a report that detailed the severity of the climate path that the world is currently on.
In a basic summary, the report mentions that there will be massive wildfires, food shortages, and coral reef die offs as early as 2040. It was also indicated that, by 2040, the global temperature would rise 2.7 degrees (Fahrenheit) above prehistoric levels. This would cause severe droughts, disappearing coastlines, and a drastic increase in poverty levels.
Also mentioned in the report is the idea of a carbon tax which is a well known proposed solution to deal with industrial emissions. However, especially in the current political climate, taxes on fossil fuel use is a nonstarter. America is currently on the opposite page as the rest of the civilized world.
So where do we find hope in such a dire situation?
A significant part of the answer can be found with solar power, of course. What’s unfortunate is that just about every major and minor online and offline news organization has failed to even mention solar power. In all fairness, the articles written are primarily about the problem, not proposed solutions.
So how can we find such hope and optimism about the role that solar power can play? It’s simple, really. This world is operated by capitalistic forces. Governments, corporations, and individuals will all choose the least expensive option when making a purchase decision, all things being equal. We have arrived at a time when solar power is now the cheapest source of energy. A carbon tax may still offer a helpful nudge for stubborn utilities, but it won’t be long before they and everyone else simply can’t deny the significantly lower prices associated with solar.
Of course, the next major challenge for power utilities is incorporating sufficient energy storage applications since solar panels only provide power during the day. However, Tesla is showing real world examples with recent battery pack deployments that utility-level energy storage is doable and scalable. Not only is solar, by itself, price competitive, but solar plus storage is becoming economically viable as well.
The work that has been done to produce this latest climate change report should absolutely be lauded, as it has been. Now we need all of these major news publications to do their part in spreading awareness of the solutions to this problem.
The false narrative that making these changes happen will be extremely expensive needs to change. The opposite is true. Doing the right thing is actually cheaper now. A massive transition to renewable energy, along with the electrification of transportion, will take us a long way in solving this problem.
We should all be hopeful and optimistic in realizing that the solutions to this problem fall easily within our current capitalist framework.
It will not take much longer before solar power is adopted in staggering numbers. Fossil fuel alternatives will no longer make sense.