Times are truly changing especially for green power. Renewable energy, once limited to off-the-grid energy sources which pale in comparison to traditional energy, is steadily gaining ground. In November last year, Norway, one of Europe’s largest oil producers, had announced that it is looking to divest its funding of international petroleum companies. The country’s own oil giant, Statoil, has already expanded its reach by investing in large off-shore wind-energy projects. The move follows on earlier decisions by other institutions to divest some of their shares in fossil fuel to other energies.
The world is taking note of the need to develop more sustainable fuel aside from fossil fuel. The World Bank, in a landmark decision, announced that it would cease financial support for all oil and gas exploration project by as early as 2019.
New York state is also making a move. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state will decarbonize its portfolio, amounting to over $200 billion in assets. New York City has followed suit with its unveiling of a fossil fuel-free strategy for the city’s pension fund.
“Those are two of the 20 largest funds on the planet,” according to environmentalist Bill McKibben. “They were saying, ‘No, we don’t think this is good business anymore.’”
He also mentions that the “smart money” is now with alternative energy and not with the fossil fuel industry, which has been the primary source of energy for the last 200 years. “Smart investors looking ahead can see where the future lies,” he continued. “Think about the scale of economic activity that comes from having to make the transition for the entire energy system off of fossil fuel and on to something else. The upside potential is enormous.”
Other countries are now following suit. China, which has been plagued by pollution has already made steps in curbing its emissions. Factories in the country are now capped to a fixed amount of carbon that they can produce annually. The move incentivizes lesser carbon emissions and puts the world’s largest emitter on board with reducing emissions. Smog, which has enveloped the most developed cities in China, and has put serious health risks for its residents, is now being addressed, thanks to the construction of solar- and wind-powered facilities.
“You hear these stories about smog in Beijing or smog in Shanghai and those images are real and those [harmful effects] are being felt by the people,” Akshat Rathi, who covered the country’s move to reduce emission, explained. “So even though it has a strong-handed government, it needs to keep its people happy and reducing fossil fuel emissions does work in their favor.”
In the U.S., the “clean energy revolution” is slowly gaining traction in the country, with key expansion in renewable energy. This creates enormous economic activity and is expected to develop further in the future. The Department of Energy lists six main players in the field – including solar, wind, water, geothermal, bio-, and nuclear energy to be the future of clean energy. (Related: Green energy solutions are releasing tons of LEAD into the environment, posing a lasting human health threat.)
All in all, the world is seeing a shift from traditional means of energy to sustainable, alternative forms. While it is still at the beginning, experts believe that this will only move forward, and create cleaner forms of energy that we can use over and over again.
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