The clean energy sector is growing rapidly: the health benefits of a cleaner world are undeniable, the solar industry shows impressive job growth, and academics have provided a timetable and roadmap for a clean energy transition. In a recent report, however, a group of scientists and academics have noted various challenges to a clean energy transition, ranging from low gas prices to fossil fuel subsidies to differing political ideologies. How can we overcome these hurdles to ensure our future is as clean and bright as possible?
Education is key, experts say. By teaching today’s students about energy education – this ranges from focusing on the mathematics of energy production and consumption, to giving students the tools they need to be able to communicate effectively and persuasively about the benefits of clean energy – we are ensuring that tomorrow’s leaders can take transformative climate action. For more information on how to lead on climate action, please join the Path to Positive.
Proponents of alternative energy were left scratching their heads last December over a report that the town council from Woodland, N.C., rejected a proposal to rezone a parcel of land to allow a proposed solar farm. Several reasons were given, including threats to human health, the notion that the community would not directly benefit, and worries over the impact to housing values.
A month earlier a Luzerne County, PA Court denied an appeal by a firm planning to construct a windfarm of up to 25 turbines in Foster Township. Locals were concerned that the turbines would be injurious to their health, safety and welfare - and that a windfarm was not consistent with other permitted land uses.
Those actions came against the backdrop of global concerns over climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. Climate change was a centerpiece of Pope Francis' recent Encyclical. Last month's Climate Change Conference in Paris led to anagreement by 195 countries to voluntarily shift away from fossil fuels and shift to non-carbon renewables like solar and wind.
Some demand an immediate end to fossil fuel development. Given current domestic political and economic pressures, geopolitical realities, consumption patterns, and the energy infrastructure of the United States, an immediate end to fossil fuel developments appears unfeasible. Change must come, but it will likely take decades. Even plans to run the US on wind, solar, and water developed by Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson and his colleagues, list a timetable of 2050 for the transition.