The Market Alone Won’t Solve Climate Change
According to a recent study conducted by MIT and the University of Chicago, it has become clear that if we let market forces alone regulate our reliance on fossil fuels for energy production, the necessary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be almost impossible to achieve (Stauffer, 2016). Without changes to public policy to encourage the competitiveness of low-carbon technologies, the efforts to prevent an increase in the burning of fossil fuels will be no match for the innovative techniques that will allow companies to recover them more efficiently and at lower costs. As stated by Professor Christopher Knittel, of the MIT Sloan School of Management, “each year we get better at finding new sources or at taking existing fossil fuels out of the ground” (Covert, Greenstone, Knittel, 2016). This means that every year the supply for fossil fuels will increase, perhaps even parallel to the demand. While it is true that the fossil fuel supply will one day run out, the question is not how long it will take, but what will happen to our planet (and to us) in the meantime.
The study discussed above is just one of many trying to make sense of the current economic landscape, and like many others, it agrees with the fact that without (aggressive) changes to public policy, wind and solar energy cannot compete with fossil fuels (Cover, Greenstone, Knittel, 2016). Under these assumptions, the effort against climate change faces a long road ahead. Naturally, these kinds of statements can be a cause for concern. It is normal for us to feel like a single sailor trying to stear an enormous ship with a tiny rudder. As we face the seemingly futile task, it is normal to stop and ask “What can I do?”, and “Will it really make a difference?”.
Climate Action Starts Now
In moments like this, it is important to remember that although fighting climate change is one of the biggest challenges we are faced with, it is also a great opportunity to spark dramatic change. The solution will require international cooperation to the highest degree and vast reforms to public policy, but when the private sector joins the many national governments and international bodies already working to find answers to these problems, the battle against climate change doesn’t look so dim anymore.
A few months before the Paris Agreement on Climate Change entered into force in November 2016, former UN Secretary General Bank-Ki Moon reminded the attendees at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk that “the real action against climate change should start now” (United Nations Meetings Coverage and Press Releases, 2016). The agreement was not the end of our efforts, but rather the consolidation of decades of research and activism that culminated with a formal recognition that climate change is one of the biggest hurdles we will face in the following decades. While Secretary General Moon was most likely referring to our responsibility to make sure our governments achieve the proposed standards and work towards decreasing the emission of greenhouse gases, this statement can also be applied to our daily lives. Influencing public policy through our daily actions can sound like a daunting and intimidating challenge, but lending a hand to these efforts doesn’t have to be.
Join The Movement
Combating climate change can be as simple as making more conscious decisions. Whether it is by choosing to change our diet, to reduce the time we spend in the shower, change the kind lightbulbs we use at home, or even change the way we shop. Every one of these decisions counts, each one of them makes a difference, and each of these can start will small shifts to our daily lives. If you are interested in learning about ways in which to commence these small changes, we invite you to come back to this blog and read about the companies and products that are already making a difference. Like Soli, several companies are already committed to the fight against climate change and they need our help to lead the way towards better solutions for the future, starting with a low carbon economy.
If you are interested in learning more, visit solisolutions.net and consider joining to help us deliver the tools to reduce carbon emissions and add to the efforts of many others that are already underway. Remember to come back to our blog, in which we will discuss three main themes: Climate Change in our Daily Lives, The Low Carbon Industry, and the Overall Problem of Climate Change.
T. Covert, M. Greenstone, and C.R. Knittel. “Will we ever stop using fossil fuels?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30, no. 1, winter 2016, pp. 117–138.
United Nations Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. “Addressing Summit on Climate Risk, Secretary-General Challenges Investors to Double Clean Energy Investments by 2020 | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases.” United Nations. United Nations, 27 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Jan. 2017. <http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sgsm17493.doc.htm>.