On climate, all the good news you can stand

By Lucien Crowder | December 21, 2017

It’s tough—caring about the climate. You get dispirited by starving polar bears, dying coral reefs, diabolical wildfires, and gleeful vandalism passing as policy.

But just when you’re ready to give up—well, my wife hates the cold, so at least there’s that—you run into an article by Joe Romm of Think Progress that turns your climate frown upside down. Under the headline “2017 showed the global clean energy revolution is unstoppable no matter what Trump does”—a flawlessly descriptive headline, by the way—Romm enumerates the following feel-good facts:

  • The highest-priced solar energy of 2017 cost no more than the lowest-priced solar energy of 2016. Solar prices tumbled 26 percent on the year.
  • Prices for offshore wind dropped 28 percent since last year. Offshore wind farms are running at higher and higher capacity factors.
  • China this year announced it would phase out cars that run on fossil fuels. India, France, and the United Kingdom have done the same.
  • Electric vehicles are on a clear path to price parity with gas-powered cars—and will keep getting cheaper after that.
  • Battery prices have declined by half in just three years, and are still headed down, down, down.
  • It may be possible to charge next-generation solid-state lithium batteries in as little as one minute. That is correct. Sixty seconds.

There’s more where that comes from, but you get the picture. Things are changing. Fast. For the better.

Somebody, somewhere, is surely accusing Romm of excessive optimism. You won’t hear it from me. The man is not an unqualified observer of energy trends and I don’t have the heart this holiday season. Maybe—just maybe—the miserable species known as Homo sapiens will skid to a stop at the edge of the climate cliff. We’ve got a better chance than we probably deserve.
 


Publication Name: Think Progress
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