US and China agree to ramp up renewables to combat climate change

Their goal is to displace fossil fuels by tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.

US and China agree to ramp up renewables to combat climate change
Photo by Christian Lue / Unsplash

The US and China have agreed to combat global warming by tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 and accelerating the replacement of fossil fuels with wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

Think they’ll do it? I do.

AND I suspect that fossil fuel use won’t have decreased enough by that point for us to feel like our energy transition efforts have made enough of an impact to get us out of the danger zone.

Note that the "statements of cooperation" from China and the US coming out of this week's agreement don't include a promise from China to wean itself off coal or even to stop building new coal plants. China has said that it needs coal for its own energy independence and to help fuel the transition to renewables, and that new plants will be used largely as backup support for renewables to be used only during peak demand. (Kind of like Ontario's "peaker" gas plants –  which, according to the Toronto Star, ran 21 hours a day this past summer and were being used more like baseload power plants... 🤔)

I don't necessarily disbelieve what China is saying here – and for all I know, going hard on the coal for another 10 years to manufacture the infrastructure required to ensure that 1.4 billion people have green energy could be the best way to reach our 2050 climate goals. But it's hard to watch emissions rise even as the transition to renewables accelerates. I suspect that we will see global emissions start to decrease this decade – and that it's going to be a decades-long grind before we're safely out of the woods.

But we CAN do it. Successfully transitioning to a green and sustainable economy is within our capacity to achieve! And I am optimistic enough to believe that because we can, we will. 

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