A little sunshine

I don’t know if he’s the only U.S. President to be published in Science, but I have a bad feeling he will probably be last. This month Science published an optimistic article by Barak Obama about the momentum and economic viability of renewable energy.

From the article:

The United States is showing that GHG mitigation need not conflict with economic growth. Rather, it can boost efficiency, productivity, and innovation.

Since 2008, the United States has experienced the first sustained period of rapid GHG emissions reductions and simultaneous economic growth on record. Specifically, CO2emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5% from 2008 to 2015, while the economy grew by more than 10%. In this same period, the amount of energy consumed per dollar of real gross domestic product (GDP) fell by almost 11%, the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of energy consumed declined by 8%, and CO2 emitted per dollar of GDP declined by 18%.

The importance of this trend cannot be overstated. This “decoupling” of energy-sector emissions and economic growth should put to rest the argument that combatting climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living.

I’ve seen this bear out even in Georgia, which doesn’t have a renewable portfolio standard, but has companies putting up solar farms all over the state. (Though we missed a chance to have a pretty big one locally due to NIMBYism.) Anecdotally I’ve been told recently that electric bus companies are unconcerned with the political situation; the economics of electric transit are too good to deny.