Yesterday, Leonid Bershidsky wrote a piece about the problems of implementing renewable energy and meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals. He writes,
As 195 countries hammered out an agreement to minimize climate change the town council of Woodland, North Carolina, met to ban a solar farm on its land and prevent all future attempts to establish one of these devilish installations. One speaker, a retired science teacher no less, opposed the green energy project because she claimed it would soak up all the sunlight and kill plants in the vicinity.
The Paris agreement is powerless to counter such moves. Article 12 states:
“Parties shall co-operate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement.”
Local governments, civic groups, universities, and businesses are and will be collaborating to take up renewable energy projects in the coming years. While Bershidsky pokes fun at Woodland, he overlooks the much larger moves afoot at the civic level to create individual and community-level renewable energy systems. While small, they are happening. Based on a combination of projections from tech and economics and hearsay, I think renewables will outpace and displace concentrated fossil fuel generation in the United States in the coming decades. The same could be true of forest preservation, conservation, and regrowth. But on renewables, local action in the United States can help with development that can further drive down costs and increase uptake for developing nations and vice versa. By working in our own communities, on economies of scale, we will become the ratchet mechanism as Sandra Steingraber might say (pic courtesy of PBS via Steingraber’s Twitter feed).
— Colleen Boland (@ColleenBoland) December 12, 2015