US Secretary of State John Kerry has described “clean energy is one of the greatest economic opportunities the world has ever seen,” in a speech to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York on Tuesday.
Drawing a comparison with the tech boom of the 1990s, which he described as a $1 trillion market with about a billion users, Kerry said the global market for clean energy was “a multitrillion dollar market already with about 5 billion users, and it can go up to 9 billion if people are correct about population growth.
“This is a multitrillion dollar market with billions of users worldwide,” he told the conference. “There are opportunities literally everywhere you look.”
But Kerry also noted that time was of the essence, in the race against global warming. “It took us decades to understand that what can seem like the cheapest sources of energy in the short term actually has insurmountable costs in the long term,” he said.
“And only in the last 20 years has the awareness grown that, unless we harness the power of clean, renewable sources like the sun, the wind, the ocean, the consequences will be absolutely devastating.
“So the direction in which the global economy is moving is not up for debate – no debate. The world is already moving straight towards the low-carbon future that we need. And the question is simply: Will we get there fast enough?”
A couple of other statistics of note from Kerry’s speech include his claim that upwards of 7.7 million people around the world are currently employed by the renewable energy industry – with more than a million of those jobs added since 2014.
Kerry also noted that “since President Obama took office, wind and solar power have grown by more than 200 per cent.” Can’t say the same for the Abbott/Turnbull regime.
Paris – China – US
The likelihood that last year’s Paris Climate Pact will be put into effect was boosted last week, with confirmation from the US and China confirmed that they will sign the agreement in New York on April 22. As Reuters reported, the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters issued a joint presidential statement last Thursday, urging other countries to also sign the accord “with a view to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as early as possible.”
Leaders from nearly 200 countries, including Australia, forged the landmark agreement to transform the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy on December 12, but it needs at least 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of global emissions to formally accede to it before it can enter into force. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hoping 120 or more countries will sign the accord at the April 22 ceremony at the UN’s New York headquarters. Indian newspapers have reported that the nation’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar will also attend the signing.
Meanwhile, in Australia…
The Bureau of Meteorology has proposed taking up the slack in national climate research created by the recent CSIRO “restructure” that resulted in the sloughing off of scores of climate scientists and key research programs. Fairfax media reports that the proposal, discussed at a meeting held by chief scientist Alan Finkel last month, is the most concrete of several ideas thrown up by the scientific community in a bid to retain internationally respected climate researchers and data collection.
The Age said it was understood that BoM put forward proposals to hire either 40 or 50 CSIRO scientists, as it took on more climate measurement and modelling – but that this was contingent on additional funding to pay for them. CSIRO is yet to respond in detail.
Meanwhile in Bangladesh…
At least four people are reported to have been killed after Bangladeshi police opened fire on a group of protestors who were demonstrating, on Monday, against the development Chinese-backed coal plants on the country’s southeast coast. Think Progress reports that around 15,000 people were protesting land grabs by the coal plants’ developer when the police opened fire. “More than six thousand farmers are dependent on this fertile land for agriculture and salt production,” Sanjay Vashist, director of Climate Action Network South Asia, told TP in an emailed statement. “These farmers traveled to Gandamara to save their livelihoods and some paid for it with their lives.”
Police officials, however, told AFP that one police officer was shot in the head and another 10 were injured. “We’ve filed cases against around 3,200 people for the violence. We’ve identified 57 of them but the rest are unnamed,” local police chief Swapan Kumar told AFP. According to TP, this is not the first time anti-coal protesters have been killed in Bangladesh. Six people were killed while demonstrating against a coal power plant in 2006.