Originally published on EcoWatch
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the global shift to clean energy is on today. Not ten years from now. Not 50 years from now. Today.
We’re already seeing the benefits too in a whole host of sectors. And those below are just for starters. Which highlights why – with the Paris Agreement about to go into effect and momentum building for action across the planet – it’s critical for those of us committed to creating a sustainable future to support world leaders working to drop dirty fossil fuels and expand clean solutions today. Read on to learn more.
1. Renewables Are Reducing Global Poverty and Expanding Energy Access
Currently, nearly one-fifth of the world’s population lacks access to electricity, most in rural areas of the developing world unable to connect to power grids. But with solar, batteries, LED lights, and efficient appliances getting more affordable all the time and entrepreneurs developing new approaches both to technology and support for rural communities, it shouldn’t be for long. Fortune magazine, for example, last year hailed off-grid solar in Africa as “tomorrow’s hot market.” Meanwhile, projects in Bangladesh, Peru, and rural villages of India are bringing electricity where there was once none – all through the power of the sun.
2. Clean Energy Saves Lives and Makes the World More Secure
With a warming climate come the challenges of ensuring food and water security for millions, sometimes spurring human migrations and further destablizing vulnerable countries. But when we embrace clean energy, as militaries around the world are doing, the benefits can be big. Not only is it cutting costs, this choice is actually making our world more secure. Now that’s something worth fighting for.
3. Clean Energy Helps Improve Public Health
It’s simple: burning fossil fuels pollutes our air, water, and land, exposure to this pollution can result in deadly illnesses. Harnessing the power of the sun, wind and water…well…it doesn’t pollute our precious resources. With clean energy, we can all breathe (and drink and farm) easier.
4. We Protect Forests and Reduce Deforestation
Clearing the planet’s forests accounts for approximately 15 percent of global emissions – that’s about the same, if not slightly more, than transportation. But countries like Brazil and India are creating policies to drastically reduce deforestation as key parts of their strategies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and meeting their commitments in the Paris Agreement. When we protect forests, which store hundreds of billions of metric tons of carbon worldwide, we’re keeping that carbon where it belongs. We speak for the trees, and we say thanks!
5. Climate-Smart Agriculture Is Growing
According to the IPCC, agriculture, forestry, and other land use accounts for roughly 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but the good news is this: we’re getting smarter about how we farm. Some studies and trial programs have suggested that adopting more sustainable agricultural management techniques could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions over 40 percent. Plows at the ready…
6. Clean Energy Is Creating Jobs
Jobs: they’re a hot topic in the US election, and the same is true in political discussions around the world. We’ve got good news – just last year, 8.1 million people worldwide were employed in the renewable energy industry. And by 2030, if we double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, the sector could employ 24 million people. In the US alone, solar energy already employs 77 percent more workers than the coal mining industry. That’s huge.
Help Make Climate Solutions a Reality
It’s been said before: now is the time to stop talking about the climate crisis and start solving it. We’re already seeing the massive benefits of climate solutions: the time is now to implement them worldwide. Support leaders making climate solutions a reality today.