Off-Grid Renewable Energy Access:
Off-grid Renewable Energy Technologies (OGRETs) are necessary to reach the goal of universal energy access. They are more cost effective than grid power for more than 60 percent of the unserved or underserved, predominantly Least Developed Country (LDC), population. They are often modular, flexible and more quickly deployed than centralized fossil fuel technologies. They provide opportunity for entrepreneurship and job creation amongst indigenous populations. They mitigate carbon emissions, aid in climate adaptation, and generally improve the capacity of populations through greater opportunities for education, communication and productivity. Moreover, these technologies are aligned with COP mandates to prioritize opportunity for local capacity building and give special consideration for the needs of LDCs.
Since 2006, the U.S. has seen the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of any country or region, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report states that, during this time, U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen by 7.7 percent or 430 million metric tons, primarily due to a decrease in coal use. According to analysis by the Vancouver Observer, CO2 emissions from the average American are now at the same levels that they were in 1964. What’s more, these reductions put America on track to meet and even exceed the goal President Obama set in the Copenhagen Accord of decreasing U.S. CO2 emissions by 17 percent by 2020.
Grassroots Victories Against Coal:
The Faustian social contract coal has long enjoyed — cheap power in return for social and environmental degradation — is now broken. At the same time local communities are standing up, fighting back, and defeating plant after plant around the world. As a result, the coal industry’s centuries-long dominance is on the verge of collapse. When it falls, it will be because people around the world fought backto protect their health, environments, and livelihoods.
“Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. Natural Gas has a very limited lifespan as a stand-alone fuel given that its combustion emissions are inconsistent with the UNFCCC goal to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that the unconventional natural gas boom could raise gas demand by 50% by 2035, in what it calls a “Golden Age of Gas.” That boom corresponds with an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations that would ultimately push us towards a 3.5 degree Celsius increase in global temperature – enough to push the planet into a disastrously inhospitable climate. Replacing one fossil fuel with another is a futile investment.
- Move Beyond Coal, NOW: Victories from the Front Lines: http://sierraclub.org/international/beyondcoalvictories/
- Locked-in: The Financial Risks of New Coal-fired Power Plants in Today’s Volatile International Coal Market:http://www.sierraclub.org/international/lockedin/