Two trillion dollars is a lot of money.
That’s how much experts expect the world’s economies will spend on clean, renewable energy between now and 2020.
As an advocate for technologies such as wind and solar power, energy efficiency, and geothermal energy, I’m thrilled at the prospect of all that investment in clean, renewable power. After all, renewable energy has produced jobs by the tens of thousands annually here in the US in recent years—jobs for construction workers and engineers, accountants, secretaries and scientists.
Renewable energy creates clean air for our kids to breathe. As the father of two beautiful girls, this is what drives me the most. And, importantly, clean, renewable energy promotes American self-reliance. It can free us from some of the world’s military and economic conflicts over energy.
But as excited as I am about the incredible advances renewable energy has made, I am equally concerned that the US will miss out on the paradigm shift in the world energy market.
That concern was highlighted recently by the release of three important reports, one from Third Way, one from the Pew Charitable Trusts, and one published jointly by the Breakthrough Institute, the Brookings Institute and the World Resources Institute.
All three highlight that we’ve made incredible progress in the last several years towards a clean, renewable energy future. But all three also point to the same conclusion: We can let slip this incredible economic opportunity if we allow key federal incentives for clean, renewable energy to expire.
The Third Way report likened our current moment to one faced by photography giant Kodak which failed capitalize on its early—in fact, industry-leading—digital photography technology.
Image of US capitol on 100 US dollars banknotes background by Elena Yakusheva via Shutterstock. Collage by GreenBiz Group.
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